The Police is desperately out-of-date – Gen. Williams

By Post Nigeria June 23, 2015 11:38

The Police is desperately out-of-date – Gen. Williams

Former Chairman of the Nigerian chapter of Transparency International, Major General Ishola Williams has stated that the Nigerian police still has a long way to go in its operational structure.

Williams who made this claim at a post-election management review organised by the CLEEN Foundation yesterday in Abuja observed that the force was still operating on its 1949 structure which limits the ability to provide security for elections in the country.

In his observation, he called for the abolition of the Ministry of Police Affairs, adding that the Police Force should be placed under the Ministry of Interior for effective supervision.

According to the retired military officer, the National Security Adviser, NSA, and the military were not supposed to be involved in election security, stressing that this is not part of their business.

“If well structured, Nigeria would have no problems with elections. States should organise their own polls, what is the business of INEC organising governorship elections? The Nigeria police are still based on 1949 structure and that is why they cannot provide election security.

“The police affairs ministry should be scrapped and the Force placed under the Interior Ministry. It should have a Director-General in charge of intelligence and general investigation.”

Williams however faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC for involving the NSA and soldiers in the 2015 polls, citing Ghana as an example who employs the security coordinating committee for election security.

“In Ghana, they have the security coordinating committee which oversees election security; the NSA should not be involved (in elections) at all. When I saw their budget running into billions, I just shook my head and wondered what they are doing with such amount of money,” Williams stated.

According to him, the allegations of rigging that trailed Ekiti and Osun State governorship elections would have been avoided, noting that the deployment of soldiers for the polls, should not have been carried out since other security agencies were available to assist the police in supervising the election.

On the contrary, Professor Okey Ibeanu from INEC affirmed that the electoral agency had a basis in law for allowing the military to take part in election security.

He maintained that the NSA’s involvement in the elections was to coordinate the advisory from the various security agencies in the country, stressing that the deployment of soldiers was to deter political thugs from disrupting the polls.

“NSA’s role was advisory, it coordinated advice from the security agencies. INEC was faced with the dilemma of tearing up the advice from all the security agencies that they weren’t in a position to provide security for the polls and the alternative …there was no alternative.” He said

In his reaction, the Inspector-General of Police, IG, Solomon Arase, represented by the Commissioner of Police in Charge of Operations’ Administration, Fatai Owoseni, said there was a lot to be done in terms of organisation and securing the electoral process.

“This is the time to start planning for 2019 and other staggered elections like the governorship polls in Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo, Osun and Kogi States.” He added