Ameh: Why state police will address security challenges in Nigeria

The National Secretary, Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Chief Peter Ameh, insists that the establishment of state police would surely address the security challenges in the country. In this interview with ADAMU ABUH, he also explains why Nigerians are currently grappling with high cost of living. 

Do you think the creation of state police will solve the security challenges facing the nation?
Let us begin on the premise that every crime is local; the laws preventing such crime and their enforcement should be local too. The challenges are local and thus require local solutions. I am of the opinion that state police should be the starting point for restructuring the country. Nigeria has been yearning for this in the last 54 years. The centralisation of authority as a result of the unitary federalism that was forcefully imposed on us by the military both before and in the 1999 constitution as amended has not only resulted in the stunted economic and democratic growth of Nigeria, but also in the insecurity that has enveloped the country. I feel that with the introduction of state police, the locals and indigenes who will constitute one hundred per cent of the force will fully and faithfully take the fate of their locality and state into their hands by ensuring that no criminal entity from within and without the locality and state is given any breathing space. The idea of waiting for order or permission from Abuja before major operations are carried out will come to an end. But we must make sure that the legislation is well drafted to prevent abuse by the state governors. And my being apprehensive is due to what the state governors have done to prevent smooth running of the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIECS) to conduct inclusive, transparent and credible local council elections. 

What is your take on the hunger and high cost of living being faced by Nigerians?
  The hunger and starvation ravaging our land did not start today. The genesis could be traced to 2015 when former president Buhari, assisted by the current President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, ascended to power under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Buhari came to power with a hateful and vengeful mind and attitude, consigning whatever thing that was good from the out gone Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government into the trash can. He imposed his provincial and religiously bigoted bent on the nation, alienating a majority of the citizens from participating in Nigeria’s affairs, elevating nepotism to an art, elevating the rights of animals such as cows and rams herded by his Fulani kinsmen way beyond the constitutionally and God-given rights of ordinary Nigerians. Herders/farmers clashes became the new normal, and killer herdsmen were literally given the marching orders to go, conquer and occupy the Middle Belt region including Southern Kaduna and Taraba states, which are reputed and recognised as the food basket of the nation; and the forest in Southern Nigeria. These areas became afflicted with unending killings and bloodletting.

Farmers who hitherto depended on agriculture for their livelihoods were either killed, kidnapped for ransom or forcefully removed from their ancestral inheritance by these cold blooded murderers. With the above violent setting, coupled with the desertification that had ravaged the far North, both commercial and subsistence farmers were driven out of their vocation, leading to low output in production and thus necessitating the astronomical rise in the cost of agricultural products, which has gone beyond the purchasing power of average Nigerians. The famous “subsidy is gone” pronouncement of Mr. President during his inauguration has exacerbated the situation, pushing the cost of goods and services to levels that are sending Nigerians to great beyond prematurely.

A section of the opposition claim that Tinubu is not prepared for the Presidency? Are you aligned to that?
You are talking about the grab 2023 presidential election. There is this biblical quote that says, “He who plans evil shall see destruction waiting for him at his doorstep.”  I remember that in 2012 when President Goodluck was in power, there was an attempt to remove the fuel subsidy, which was vehemently and fiercely resisted by ex-governor Tinubu, as he then was, and others including Prof. Wole Soyinka, Gen. Buhari, as he then was, and others. At that time, life in Nigeria was still bearable to the ordinary Nigerian except the Boko Haram menace in Borno and Yobe states and sundry criminality here and there.

Fast forward to 2015 and beyond; Nigeria has become like hell on earth; killings and bloodletting have become our new normal. The humanity in us has been numbed. We hardly shudder anymore at the mention of more than 150 persons killed in a single night.
The APC government that President Tinubu brought to power in 2015 brought with it sorrow and tears. Hardship became the order of the day, coupled with rising inflation. Corruption, which was in single digit under Jonathan, rose to close to triple digits under Buhari. And now that Tinubu has taken the helm of affairs, the situation has not improved and is not improving. It is getting worse by the day and the exchange rate of the naira to the dollar is nearing N2000 to the dollar.
President Tinubu has always been prepared for the office. The performance of his predecessor in office was so dreadful and appalling that he has been reputed to be the president that has superintended the most corrupt and provincial government in the history of Nigeria, mortgaging our future and going home with whatever that would have survived us in the present. The second reason is the law of karma and retribution, which is playing a part in the happenings now because of the ignoble role President Tinubu played in 2012 and beyond.

How do you view the call by NECA and oil marketers to review the fuel subsidy removal and floatation of the naira?
  I do not really think the government will reverse the removal of fuel subsidy and naira floatation because it is beholden to the Bretton Woods Institutions. Recall the controversies that trailed the emergence of candidate Tinubu as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Remember the messy court litigation that followed at the election petition tribunals, most especially, the certificate scandals. Those countries with the biggest stake in the World Bank and IMF may never endorse the reversal of these two policies no matter how harsh and hard they are on us, the citizens of Nigeria.

Looking at what played out at the APC Edo governorship primary, do you think the party has learnt any lesson?
  Can anything good come out of Nazareth? This can also be translated to can anything good come out of APC?  APC has become like an affliction sent to Nigeria to punish us for not being able to recognise what was best for us. Like in the Bible where the Israelites asked Prophet Samuel for a king that would rule like other nations, we asked that President Jonathan, a gentleman with democratic ideals, be pushed aside in favour of a northern irredentist and revisionist dictator who never took responsibility for his acts of omission and commission.
To answer your question, the Edo APC primary has shown that internal party democracy, which is the bedrock on which a political party is built, is non-existent in APC, and therefore, it cannot give what it does not have. Remember that where there are too many godfathers in a setting, the Edo situation must surely arise. The party is lucky that they have an experienced and smart national chairman who advisedly declared the primary inconclusive; otherwise they would have been out of the ballot of the Edo State 2024 governorship election as a result of breaching the venue principle of the Electoral Act, 2022.

What do you make of the crisis rocking the Labour Party?
  Internal conflict is not peculiar to the Labour Party alone and these can be resolved with proper application of internal party democratic processes through the use of appropriate party organs. The inability to manage the internal affairs in an inclusive manner is most evident in the crisis that we have seen so far. It is no news to you and many Nigerians that Mr. Peter Obi is the force behind the growth and popularity that the Labour Party enjoys today and he got this love because of his leadership qualities i.e. competence, accountability and honesty towards the management of public funds and the general welfare of the people.

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