Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo has said the refusal of the federal government to approve southwest governors’ demand to establish state police a few years ago led to the establishment of the Western Nigeria Security Network Agency codenamed Amotekun.
Noting that it is important for the federal government to revisit the matter, the governor alongside the conference of southwest speakers, reiterated the call for the establishment of state police, saying it has become imperative to surmount the insecurity challenges facing different parts of the country.
Makinde spoke on Tuesday, January 30, when he received the Conference of Speakers of State Legislators, Southwest Chapter, led by its chairman and Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adeoye Aribasoye.
The speakers paid a courtesy visit to the governor in his office in Ibadan, where he appreciated them for their condolences and words of support over the January 16 explosion in Bodija, Ibadan.
The governor maintained that there is a need for collaboration and cooperation between the executive arm of government and the legislators to deliver dividends of democracy and bring development to the people.
Makinde said: “I want to observe that you need to all come together irrespective of the political party that brought you into office. This is a demonstration that the electioneering period is over and you need to have everybody pulling together to govern and deliver dividends of democracy to our people.”
While speaking on the security challenges in the country, Governor Makinde maintained that the establishment of state police is an idea whose time has come and that the fears in some quarters that states would not be able to maintain state police are unfounded.
He cited the example of Oyo State where the payment of salaries and pensions has never been an issue despite the economic challenges in the country.
Makinde said: “A lot of people may not know that before we launched Amotekun in this state, some of us governors went to the federal government and we asked to be allowed to set up state police for our various states but we did not get that approval during the time of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I disagreed at that particular time and still disagree to date that the states are not in the position to maintain state police. I have never seen where the Federal Government went to a particular state and gave the police everything they needed. So, the states are already maintaining the police.”
Makinde said the police are on the exclusive list, but if that responsibility is split and states have to run their police system, they should have access to resources from the federation account to meet the responsibility of maintaining the police.
“So, the issue of being unable to maintain state police will not arise again. Give us the responsibility first and see if certain states will be able to maintain it or not.
“But since we could not get state police, we settled for Amotekun. All the state assemblies in the Southwest passed a common law for its establishment. So, we have to be pushing for state police, and you lawmakers have a role to play to make that a reality.”
Earlier in his remarks, the chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislators, Southwest, Rt. Hon. Aribasoye described Makinde as a dynamic governor, while he also lauded his efforts in re-engineering the state through various developmental projects.
He commended the governor for his proactiveness and prompt response to the unfortunate incident at Bodija.
He also expressed confidence that there would be continuous support and harmonious relationships between the legislative and the executive arms of government for better governance.
Fielding questions from reporters shortly after the visit, the chairman said the visit is part of visits to all the states in the Southwest on the need to have regional integration and development, and also to look at the issues of security particularly in the Southwest region.
He said: “With me, I have also the speakers of Oyo, Ondo and Osun states and other members of all the states’ houses of Assembly in the Southwest region. Our visit to Oyo State today is part of our visit to all the states in the Southwest on the need for us to have regional integration and development, and also to look at the issues of security particularly in our region.
“To call for multi-level policing in Nigeria most importantly, for us now to have state police, to move policing from the exclusive list to the concurrent list whereby each state of the federation can also on their own sake control of the security situation. It is important also for us in the Southwest.
“We are looking at a way we can have harmonized legislation, particularly in the areas that we have common challenges and common issues. We have also come to commiserate with the governor and the people of Oyo state on that needless explosion that took place the last time in Ibadan.
“The visit is still an ongoing process and we believe Southwest has always been a model and that we will continue to have. We are also working on how to have a southwest legislative summit where all the members of houses of assembly in the Southwest will all come together and fortunately, Oyo has also agreed to host that, so that we can come together to address some of the issues that we are facing such as insecurity, regional integration, economy and what have you.”
In attendance were the Chairman, Nigeria Conference of Speakers and Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin, speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Rt. Honourable Olamide Adesanmi and the Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Rt. Honourable Adewale Egbedun.