February 5, 2021
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WERE Nigeria not experiencing multifaceted security challenges, some of them threatening the very core of its existence as a sovereign country, the reported refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to summon a meeting of the Nigeria Police Council for the past 21 months would still be troubling to Nigerians, and justifiably so. At the moment, though, it is a fact that the country currently faces some of its worst security challenges since Independence. Today, it is officially one of the most terrorized states in the world. With Boko Haram terrorism continuing to plague the country in the face of murderous onslaughts on law-abiding citizens by Fulani herdsmen, both of which feature prominently on the Global Terrorism Index, the country can obviously not afford to trifle with constitutional provisions that provide mechanisms for addressing its security challenges. Yet that, precisely, is what has been happening in the past 21 months. If and when President Buhari decides to convene the police council meeting, he would have wasted nearly, or more than, two years of golden opportunities to harness the views of the constitutionally mandated officials of the council to address the bourgeoning security challenges that threaten to  make whatever his administration claims to be doing to make life better for Nigerians hopelessly ineffective.

Boko Haram and nomadic terrorisms apart, it is a fact that the country currently reels under the weight of bandits, hardened criminals who have, for months on end, been bold enough to collect ransoms from local governments after kidnapping hapless citizens, and to claim that their pact with particular state governors to lay down their arms did not preclude them from engaging in robbery and petty thefts. The bandits terrorise many states of the North, including Zamfara, Katsina, Niger and Kaduna, with impunity. Among other acts of daring lawlessness, they kidnapped over 333 students of the Government Science School, Kankara, Katsina State, only recently. In the face of the dire straits in which the country has found itself, it is befuddling and outrageous that the last time the Nigeria Police Council met was on May 23, 2019 when it confirmed the appointment of Abubakar Adamu as the substantive Inspector-General of Police at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The country has therefore been robbed of the benefits that the framers of the Constitution envisaged through the meetings of the council, comprising the president, who is the chairman, all state governors, the Minister of Interior, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the Permanent Secretary of the commission.

Tellingly, not even the #EndSARS crisis which rocked the country last year caused President Buhari to convene a meeting of the police council. The National Economic Council was instead called upon to handle critical issues that it should have handled. To be sure, President Buhari’s refusal to convene the meeting for nearly two years is a major travesty, especially in the wake of escalating security challenges in all the states of the federation. In any case, the fact that the president has not even seen any need to convene the meeting to discuss the expiration of the tenure of office of IGP Adamu is mindboggling to informed Nigerians.  This unfortunate situation is one reason the state governors are lame ducks in the sight of citizens.  There is no hub for the articulation of their security concerns and how they can get the Federal Government, which controls the country’s security apparatuses, to synergize with them to stem the tide of violence. The presidency, no matter its excuses, is  liable for the orgy of violence sweeping through the country. Its criminal inertia has been all too evident.

We call on President Buhari to convene the Nigeria Police Council meeting without delay. It is time the roles of the 36 state governors in police affairs were placed in the spotlight. If the antagonists of the regional policing outfit, Amotekun, for instance realised that state governors were members of the council, they would have avoided the embarrassment they caused themselves through some of the ignorant rhetoric they spewed during the early days of its formation. Buhari should convene the meeting without delay.

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