Speakers to lead call for state police
The Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Mudashiru Obasa has assured those agitating for creation of state police to remain hopeful.
Obasa, while addressing participants during a parley at the State House of Assembly yesterday, said the issue would definitely be looked into at the ongoing joint meeting and conference of all State Houses of Assembly Speakers holding in Abuja. The meeting commenced yesterday.
Obasa posited that the challenges of security as it currently affects all the 36 states of the federation, has made the demand for creation of state police “a must consider for the guarantee of safety of lives and property.”
While he agreed that the primary purpose of any government is to ensure safety of lives and property of the citizenry, Obasa noted that the popular and unrelenting demand for restructuring of the country should not only focus on resource control and quest to devolve more powers and responsibilities to the states with a burden-less centre “there must also be serious consideration on issues bordering on security of each state and region and the only option to achieving this is if each state is allowed to have its own police.”
He backed his argument with the fact that there is no state in Nigeria as at today that could claim to be safe in terms of security “if one is not battling with kidnapping, another is battling with insurgency and others armed robbery, Boko Haram insurgents and Fulani herdsmen crises, the new wave of ritual crime tagged Badoo currently ravaging Ikorodu Division among others.”
He disclosed that the Conference of Speakers is therefore trying to look into how it could influence the amendment of the 1999 Constitution that would enable the nation to scale through major hurdles, including issues relating to restructuring where creation of state police would be made possible.”
He advised those championing the agitation for restructuring to henceforth, as much as they could, lay emphasis on state policing whenever and at every opportunity they have.
He further disclosed that the Lagos legislative arm would leave no stone unturned in complementing the efforts of the executive in ridding the state of crime, especially through making of timely and people-oriented legislation.
When also asked to explain what the House is doing to check the excesses of the State’s Task Officers who dumped those arrested for minor offences like street hawking, wandering and violation of environmental laws in prison, the Speaker disclosed that the appropriate committee is looking into the menace.
Said he, “This has come to our attention and it is worrisome. We are not resting on our oars to address it. The chairman Committee on Judiciary is currently liaising with the Chief Judge of the State to ensure that victims of such circumstances are let off the hook. We are already compiling names of those in prisons for minor offences.”
Giving account of the House achievements, Obasa said it has succeeded in passing eight bills into law and made 72 resolutions all bordering on welfare of the people, particularly security.
“These laws include Neighbourhood Safety Corps Law; Kidnapping Prohibition law; Lagos Property Protection law; Environmental Protection law amongst others to tackle security and other problems in the state.
“The people of Lagos have benefited from all these laws and we will not relent in our efforts. We have also held MDAs to account through effective and efficient oversight functions.”
He commended the contributions of the media and civil organisations to the achievements of the state, saying, “The media has significantly contributed to democratic sustenance in Nigeria. I therefore seek the continuous partnership of the fourth estate of the realm with the government and the legislature to deliver dividends of democracy.
Said he, “The media should rise to safeguard the legislative arm. For instance, about six Speakers of State Houses of Assembly were recently impeached under questionable circumstances. To sustain democracy we must protect the legislative arm through objective criticisms.”