The latest mass killings on the Plateau and the unrelenting spate of kidnappings in parts of the country may have caused the federal government to rethink its opposition to the issue of state police, with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday calling for their establishment.
Osinbajo, who stated this position yesterday in Lagos while delivering a lecture at the special parliamentary session in commemoration of the 3rd Anniversary of the 8th Assembly of Lagos State, contended that state and community policing by locals who understand the terrain and the local languages would no doubt address the problem of insecurity in the country.
Osinbajo made a case for state police to tackle the present security challenges confronting the nation, saying that “local policing is very important as part of our security architecture”.
Although the topic for the lecture was ‘Strengthening Legislative Institutions: Panacea for Eradicating Poverty’, the vice president narrowed the topic down to ‘Stronger State and the Eradication of Poverty.’
As against the general belief that the creation of a conducive environment by the government for business to thrive will check mass poverty, Osinbajo, however, stated categorically that poverty can be eradicated by having strong states with strong judiciary, executive and legislature that would channel the resources of the state to create wealth for the citizens.
“The three arms of government in the states must work proactively for the economic development of its citizens. To achieve this there must be devolution of powers to the states to enable them control their resources”, Osinbajo said.
He cited the great feat achieved by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who as Premier of the then Western Region recorded achievements that were acknowledged worldwide most of which have endured to this time, relying solely on revenue from taxes and cocoa.
Osinbajo also called for devolution of power and restructuring, but he stated that even without restructuring, it was possible to create a strong state without any major constitutional changes.
He cited how through the collaboration between the three arms of government in Lagos from the reign of Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu to the present governor, the state has been able to win series of cases at the Supreme Court which have given more powers not only to Lagos State but many other states as well.
According to him, the Lagos Assembly has pushed the frontiers of federalism by passing laws which have strengthened federalism in Nigeria.
He noted that for outstanding economic growth, there is the need to focus on education, healthcare and the provision of jobs through deliberate programmes. According to him, pumping more resources into these sectors will benefit the majority of the citizens.
The vice president stated further that the present government was working round the clock to create an environment for business to thrive, through a micro-credit scheme especially for those at the lower rungs of the economic ladder in order to lift them out of poverty.
In his response, Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode commended the leadership of the state Assembly for their team dynamics and infrastructural development within the Assembly.