Public, Private Partnership Solution To State Police Funding 
CEO of Newstide Publications, Dr Marcel Mbamalu speaking the panel session on Tuesday, October 25, 2022.

Public, Private Sector Partnership Solution For State Police Funding 

2 years ago
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To tackle the seemingly intractable menace of insecurity across Nigeria, governments have been advised to adopt the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model if they must effectively fund a decentralized or state police system.

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Newstide Publications Limited, Dr. Marcel Mbamalu, gave the advice on Tuesday October 25, 2022 during a discourse on how a state police system could help Nigeria address its present security challenges.

Dr Mbamalu stated that such model of funding should be adopted to fund security agencies and train operatives for effective policing.

The suggestion came on the back of President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent position that  Nigerian states, who struggle to pay salaries at present, would not be able to independently fund a virile police system in their states.

A panelist at the “Eight Global Right’s Conflict Specific Dialogue Series” organised in collaboration with Sensor Empowerment Foundation at the Freedom Park, Lagos, Dr Mbamalu insisted that the PPP model remains a major plank in tackling insecurity and poor policing through funding and consistent training.

According to him, ”the private sector – local and international investors, multinationals and even private citizens – are often ready to go beyond paying their regular tax and pool more resources to support government’s policing efforts. This can be done at state and local government levels.”

He further explained that, better policing should begin with not just carrying weapons around but by understanding the people and working with them for useful information to avert crimes.”

He observed that, some security operatives lack operational  knowledge of their areas they are deployed,  in terms of the language of communication, culture and terrain, a reality that  has negative effects on their performance during operations their own safety.

Dr Mbamalu, a Bloomberg and Reuters-trained veteran journalist and former Editor at The Guardian, advised that the communication gap between the federal police and the people could be addressed by ensuring that police commissioners posted to states have proper understanding of the area and be able to speak the native language. ”I think something is wrong with a system that will post a number one police officer to a state whose language he or she cannot speak. How can he or she police the area as a security chief in the first place?,” he asked.

Mr. Confidence McHarry, a senior analyst at SBM intelligence, said that Nigeria needs to improve in many aspects. He stated that its underdevelopment is a trigger for citizen distrust and encouraged government to provide the right equipment for the police and related agencies. This, he said, would help the police to check crime and tame rising security risks  to work effectively in the country. The expert, who is also a media entrepreneur, further mentioned that reduction of unemployment will reduce the rate of insecurity in Nigeria.

Public, Private Partnership Solution To State Police Funding 

Prior to this, Edosa Odiawe, Programme Manager for Global Rights, in his response to the question of finding the right security architecture in the federal Constitution, said,  the country would need to revisit its constitution to truly align with the principles of democracy.  ”We need to look at the constitution again and make decisions in order to protect the people, not only those in government,” Odiawe said.

Mr Kehinde Dipo, another panelist, urged that the welfare of security personnel should be made better and be equipped to protect lives and property, the basic function of the police in any society.  He argued that police brutality, which led to the 2020 ENDSARS protests across the country, was partly a product of ‘transferred aggression’  on the part of police operatives who were given the short end of the stick by government.

“Many policemen are not prepared to die for Nigeria, because they are not treated well,” a participant in the audience  said in her contribution, citing instances where police officers died and their families were sent packing from police barracks with little or no compensation.

But Dr Mbamalu, in response to the question: ”What is the way forward for security in this country?”, urged Nigerians to be more active in  their civic duties.  ‘‘Do not be so carried away by who becomes your president in 2023; there is a much more important consideration,” he said.  ”Make sure you know who represents you in your State House of Assembly, House of Representatives and the Senate.” He explained that active electoral participation  at the local level would be the first step to legitimizing and implementing the much-talked-about State Police in Nigeria. Dr Mbamalu further urged Nigerians to patriotically deploy their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in positively moving the country forward.

Reacting to Mbamalu’s position on the state police matter in a WhatsApp forum a day after, Bala Datti Abubakar, the PRP Senatorial candidate for Kano South in the 2023 general elections, said: “I am even more passionate about Dr Mbamalu’s last point, which advocates a deeper understanding of governance as relates the other arms and tiers of government. We can’t outsource leadership recruitment to happenstance, the hangover of military rule has not left us. Unless a deliberate attempt to establish a credible leadership recruitment platform across the governance Value chain is conceived, we will continue to bleed from poor governance.”

According to Abubakar, the call  for Police Commissioners to be natives of the sates, or at least the geopolitical zones, where they are posted as number one security officer is remarkable.  ” The Police Commissioner thing is something that can be done by executive or legislative resolve,” he said.

”My take is that all police postings should reflect the State of origin. Better still State policing might be the answer.”


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