Lagos lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has urged the 36 state governors to request President Muhammadu Buhari to convene an urgent meeting of the Nigeria Police Council to deliberate on the organisation, administration and general supervision of the Police.
He said the meeting should design strategies for effective policing of each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
In a statement issued yesterday in Lagos, Falana said he suggested the meeting in view of the worsening security situation.
The Lagos lawyer based his request for a meeting of the governors and Buhari on seven legal grounds.
According to him, “The Nigeria Police Council is one of the Federal Executive Bodies established pursuant to Section 153 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended;
“By virtue of Paragraph L, Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution, the council is constituted by the President, the governor of each of the states of the Federations, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission and Inspector-General of Police;
“The functions of the council include the general supervision, organisation and administration of the Nigeria Police Force and other matters relating thereto;
“The council is also required to advise the President on the appointment of the Inspector-General of Police in accordance with section 215 (1) of the constitution.”
Falana added: “But due to the failure of the council to hold regular meetings in line with the provisions of Section 159 of the Constitution, its functions have been performed exclusively by the Presidency since civil rule was restored in the country May, 1999;
“Instead of insisting on joint control and management of the Nigeria Police Force with the President as envisaged by the Constitution, the 36 state governors are currently campaigning for the establishment of State Police, thereby giving the impression that what we have in place is a Federal Government Police Force; and that
“It is doubtful if the governors are familiar with the case of the Attorney-General of Anambra State V Attorney-General of the Federation (2005) 9 NWLR (Pt 932) 572, wherein the Supreme Court held that, “The Constitution in section 215 subsection (1) clearly gives the Governor of Anambra State the power to issue lawful direction to the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State, in connection with securing public safety and order in the state.”
He said like majority of concerned citizens, he has watched with dismay and frustration, the unabated killing of thousands of innocent people, including children and the wanton destruction of properties by terrorists, herders, kidnappers, armed robbers and other bandits.
“Having taken over the monopoly of violence the armed gangs have continued to unleash mayhem in various communities despite official assurance that the Federal Government is committed to the protection of the life and property of every person living in Nigeria.
“In view of the worsening security situation in the country, I am compelled to call on the 36 state governors to request President Buhari to convene an urgent meeting of the Nigeria Police Council to deliberate on the organisation, administration and general supervision of the Nigeria Police Force with a view to designing strategies for effective policing of each state of the federation and the FCT,” he said.
Falana told the governors to take advantage of the proposed meeting to direct the Attorneys-General of all the states of the Federation to embark on the immediate prosecution of the hundreds of suspects that have been arrested by the combined teams of the Police and the Army for culpable homicide, kidnapping, armed robbery and arson which are state offences.