By: Joy Odor/Abuja
Need for state police to address the continued spate of crimes, especially killings by insurgents and armed bandits, kidnapping and rape, among others, reverberated on the floor of the Senate yesterday where lawmakers condemned the acts of indiscipline.
This is even as the upper legislative chamber resolved to set aside N10billion in the 2019 budget as intervention fund for tackling the problem of insecurity in Zamfara State and the humanitarian crisis it has caused.
For management of the fund, the Senate urged the federal government to set up an ad-hoc committee to be known as Presidential Initiative on Zamfara State with a 10-year lifespan for coordination of programmes aimed at addressing humanitarian crisis in the state.
These were sequel to a motion sponsored to that effect by Senator Kabiru Marafa (APC Zamfara Central).
Marafa, who rose through orders 42 and 52 of the Senate standing rules to move the motion, said the problem of insecurity in Zamfara State, is deteriorating on weekly or even daily basis, which calls for urgent national action and from the parliament, legislative intervention.
According to him, heinous activities of different categories of mindless criminals or killers in the state like armed bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers and others are creating serious humanitarian crisis in the state that must be addressed very urgently.
“Since 2011, as a result of the unabating activities of the criminals in the State, roughly estimated 11,000 males have killed who left behind, average of 22,000 widows and by extension, 44,000 orphans.
“These figures are just by conservative estimates because the figures are far, far higher.
“The bandits, especially heavily armed kidnappers operate with little or no resistance in Gusau, the capital of the state , making less than 75% of people in Zamfara not to be sleeping in their houses.
Contributing, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu commended Marafa for always bringing the deteriorating security situation in Zamfara to the front burner of discourse in the Senate.
“The primary purpose of government as clearly stated in Section (1b) of the 1999 constitution as amended, is all about security and welfare of citizens. Any government that cannot make provision for these, has no business in governance.
Making similar submission, the Senate Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye (APC, Osun Central), said the problem of the country is the constitution itself, which by its provisions , puts on ground, an over centralized federation or better put, Unitary system as against the federal system of government.
According to him, as long as the problematic constitution is not amended by way of removing policing from exclusive list to concurrent list to pave way for state police, criminality at local levels will continue unabated.
“How on earth would a supposedly federation , have 68 items on its exclusive list and just 12 ambiguous and nebulous items on its concurrent list. Provisions of this constitution make mockery of Nigeria as a federation and the earlier it is addressed, the better because every crime is local and solution to it is local”, he said.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, emphasised the need for policing to be localized in fighting all manner of crimes at the local levels.
He said: “From the contributions we have had, I think it is key that we begin to look at the problem and look for long-term solutions.
“More importantly is that we must go back to what a lot of us had been advocating here that there is need for us to have state or community police.
“It is the way forward. Otherwise, we will continue to run into these problems. On the area of oversight, there is a lot also that we need to do to ensure that we hold the security agencies accountable. And we need to move very fast in this area”.