“You can’t pay minimum wage but you want state police?” – Edwin Clark blasts governors

by Akan Ido

Hate him, or love him, this is a man you have got to respect for speaking his mind.

President Jonathan’s ardent supporter, Chief Edwin Clark has express his opposition to the clamour by some state governors for state police wondering how the states in question intend to fund the expected exponential increase in wages if introduced.

Clark said in an interview that he fears the state police would be used by governors to serve their personal and political interests.

He described it as curious that states which are yet to adequately fulfill their present wage obligations are at the forefront of the clamour for state police.

He said: “I don’t believe in state police, even though it is an essential ingredient of democracy. Nigeria as of today is not developed democratically to the extent of having a state police.

“The way the state governors behave has not made it necessary to have a state police. Some of the governors behave like dictators and there is this fear that they will use the state police for their political interests such as political thuggery,” Clark said.

He used Tanko Yakassai’s book on the potentials for the abuse of state police as a basis for his argument saying, “In the book, Tanko Yakassai gave a vivid account of how the local police was abused by the Emirs in harassing and intimidating members of the NEPC. They were persecuted and beaten up. The local police was notorious and therefore this is not the time to have the state police.

“The governors are the chief security officers of their respective states and with state police, they will acquire the powers of life and death, where they will use it at their beck and call to intimidate and cajole their political enemies. At the right time, when the democratic practice is matured, state police can be introduced, but certainly not now. I will rather advocate the reformation of the Nigeria Police,” he explained.

The elder statesman said a state like Lagos will need about a hundred thousand strong state police force, a venture which would add an unnecessary burden on its already high expenditure.

He concluded by asking, “How can the states that are still unable to pay the minimum wage be able to manage the burden of state police? State police means provision of uniforms, provision of arms and ammunition, provision of vehicular and logistics needs. This means extra funds, where will the states get the money from, when in actual sense some of them are yet to pay and implement the minimum wage bill of N18,000.”

So, there’s the question, answers anyone?

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