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U.S. pledges support for Nigeria police

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By Abiodun Okunloye

A solution to Nigeria's needs in law enforcement and policing will be found.

During a stakeholders’ dialogue on insecurity and state policing held in Abuja, the Director of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, Jason Smith, stressed the importance of finding a solution specific to Nigeria’s needs in law enforcement and policing. The United States government highlighted the need for a Nigerian-tailored approach to address these challenges. Stakeholders from civil society groups and law enforcement officials in Nigeria gathered in the capital to engage in a dialogue addressing the urgent matters of state police and the widespread insecurity affecting the nation.

Smith recognized the significance of open communication in tackling these pressing matters, praising the wide range of voices involved and the teamwork of Nigerian stakeholders in problem-solving. He emphasized that for more than two decades, the U.S. government has worked alongside Nigerian partners to enhance law enforcement and tackle issues in criminal justice. They are aware of the multitude of obstacles facing Nigeria today. As mentioned before, although their countries have similar federal systems, the way they approach law enforcement varies. Different nations have their own distinct methods.

Necessary framework of laws for the nation to thrive will be established.

Their goal is not to impose solutions on Nigeria or recommend a flawless fix for improving service delivery or law enforcement. There is always space for progress, but it should come from a solution that is inherent to Nigeria. He added that the range of participants at the event had left a strong impression on him. Civil society members are actively engaging in discussions on ways to address Nigeria’s challenges and are working together to come up with recommendations for improving policing.

The police are crucial to the functioning of a country, as they are an essential part of the government responsible for maintaining law and order, which ultimately leads to public safety and stability. Their contribution is vital in establishing the necessary framework of laws for a nation to thrive and grow. In the end, no matter which direction Nigeria decides to take, he is optimistic that they will enthusiastically embrace chances to cooperate with their Nigerian counterparts. Hand in hand, they will strive to discover solutions and assist in Nigeria’s initiatives to improve law enforcement services, provide superior public services to its people, and cultivate confidence in its systems and legal framework.

Power misuse and political influence will be tackled.

Okechukwu Nwanguma, who serves as the Executive Director of the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) emphasized the need for discussion on the issue. This urgency stems from the rise in cases of kidnappings, banditry, and criticisms of the current police system. Nwanguma pointed out that the establishment of state police by the President and governors is an attempt to address these problems. Nonetheless, there are apprehensions about the likelihood of power misuse and political influence in this proposed solution, making the debate multifaceted.

He mentioned that the Civil Society Panel on Police Reform had recommended that if there were any progress towards state policing, it should prioritize operational independence and high standards of professionalism. Additionally, he noted that as the National Assembly deliberates on laws for state police formation, the discussions aim to include a wide range of viewpoints in order to discover the optimum approach and stability to use for law enforcement and safety in Nigeria.

Related Article: State police can solve insecurity issues–Gov

During the keynote presentation, Professor Etannibi Alemika discussed how decentralization, democratization, and police effectiveness intersect. The stakeholders’ dialogue was intended to guarantee that decisions are participatory, inclusive but also transparent, and well-informed by diverse perspectives. Other speakers at the gathering highlighted the severity of the issue and stressed the importance of finding a delicate solution that considers both the advantages of government policing and the potential drawbacks. They recommended sustaining the collaboration between Nigeria and global partners, like the United States, in order to assist the nation in enhancing its policing and public services.

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