Former Military President Ibrahim Babangida has made a case for State Police, saying the coming of the outfit would strengthen the maintenance of law and order, saying he is now ‘born again’ on the vexed issue
He spoke yesterday at the Third United Nations Peace Day Lecture Series in Minna, Niger State, .
Besides, he demanded the reduction of the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The lecture entitled: “The review of the constitution and the stability of Nigeria”, was organised by the Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development and the government of Niger State.
Babangida said: “I want to say that I am now born again and I am in support of those who are calling for the establishment of state police. This will strengthen our efforts in maintaining law and order.”
“It may surprise you when I said I am now a born again in the support for local police. I support the idea so that we have a federal and state police.
“I want to see a situation where the maintenance of law and order is further strengthened,” Gen. Babangida said.
“I honestly believe that there is too much power and responsibilities at the centre.”
The Federal Government, he said, should concentrate on defence and security, foreign affairs and economic management, rather than the running of secondary schools, which could be better managed by state governments and individuals.
Gen. Babangida said the minorities should be given their fair share in the scheme of things to enable them feel a sense of belonging.
INEC should concentrate on the presidential election while the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) should be allowed to handle national and state legislative elections, he said.
Gen. Babangida, who admitted that though he enjoyed some of these powers during his eight-year rule, said he foresaw the need for devolution of power as far back as 1989, when he instituted a committee headed by the late Abdulrahaman Okene on “devolution of power”.
He said his vision 20 years ago was germane now if the federal system of government being practised is to be strengthened, adding that the central government must shed some powers and responsibilities.
On the economy, he advised members of the National Assembly Constitution Review Committee to allow free enterprise economy of the capitalist system.
The country, the General said, is now ripe to jettison the federal character in appointment of personnel, stressing that merit should be the yardstick for any future appointment.
According to him, “no state of the federation is lagging behind”.
“All states have qualified personnel; so appointment should be on merit and not federal character. I think we are now above that.”
Source: The Nation