News / Africa

Nigeria Governors Debate Creation of Local Police

Nigerian police provide security during the ruling party's final campaign rally, at Eagle Square in Abuja, Nigeria, March 26, 2011.
Nigerian police provide security during the ruling party's final campaign rally, at Eagle Square in Abuja, Nigeria, March 26, 2011.
Heather Murdock
ABUJA — Nigeria's governors discussing a controversial plan to decentralize the country’s security forces by creating state police departments.   Some officials say local police forces could increase security, but others fear the move will return the country to civil war.
 
Nigeria has not forgotten its civil war.  In a brutal two-and-one-half years between 1967 and 1970 more than a million civilians and soldiers died from fighting and famine.  Ethnic violence still plagues the country.  
 
Today, the word “unity” can be seen everywhere in the capital: on street signs, billboards and on the lips of political leaders.
 
Former Inspector General of Police, Muhammadu Gambo, says decentralizing the security forces by creating state police departments could threaten this unity by giving local leaders militias.
 
He says before the civil war state police departments prevented politicians from conducting campaign activities in areas where their opponents were in control.
 
“There was a mass movement of troops and so on to ensure that nothing happened.  If you want to disintegrate Nigeria then encourage this sort of thing.  Nigeria will be gone,” said Gambo.

Gambo says most of Nigeria’s 36 states could not finance a police department if they had one.  
 
But other prominent officials, including former president, General Ibrahim Babangida, say fears of civil war are outdated.  They say local police departments are essential to strengthening democracy, citing the United States and the United Kingdom as countries that have both local and national security forces.   
 
Nigeria’s security forces are battling militants in the north, kidnappings in the south and ethnic violence that has killed thousands in Nigeria’s “Middle Belt.”
 
Recent college graduate Paul-light Onah says, like many Nigerians, he wants more security and having state police departments and inspector generals could save lives.

“If it is not corrupt it will make less crime in Nigeria," he said. "It will make easy access and quick access to crime scenes.  I believe if they have an IG [inspector general] in the state, at least it will be an easy patrol and they understand the state very well.”
 
Nigeria’s governors are meeting to debate the issue.  The governors are now publicly divided, like much of Nigeria, between the north and the south.  
 
Governors from the predominantly Muslim north oppose state police, while those from the mostly Christian south support the idea.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More