The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has promised to support the establishment of state police if elected president.
In an interview with The African Reports, which he shared on his verified Twitter handle, @atiku, the former vice president argued that the fear that governors will misuse state police was unfounded.
He said governors would not do any worse with the state police than the Federal Government currently does with the police under the present structure.
Atiku stated: “I want to devolve policing as well to the states. They’ll be free to run their own police forces. If they cannot, they can come together, two or three states to do it, depending on how they want [to do it].
“We have the same thing. The federal government is misusing the police, is misusing the military. So if you are talking of abuse, every level of government abuses.”
Asked how he would resolve the farmers/herdsmen clashes, Atiku said he would ensure that all the abandoned grazing reserves in the north were reactivated to accommodate cattle during the farming season.
“In each province in the north, we used to have a grazing reserve. During the season, the cattle are in the reserves. When it is off-season, when farmers would have cultivated all their crops, then the cattle move out to the areas where the farmers have cultivated, allowing the grass in the grazing reserves to grow. These grazing reserves have been abandoned over the years,” he said.
He also added: “One way is to make sure that we give local leaders the power to resolve disputes between farmers and grazers.”
When he was asked how he was going to solve the challenge of Boko Haram terrorism, he said, “I happen to know how Boko Haram came into being. They were offshoots of political thuggery. Politicians used those boys in Boko Haram to win elections and then abandoned them and then there were no jobs for them. It was the same thing with the Niger Delta. In 1998, I saw it myself and I warned people.
“It’s going to be a multifaceted approach. It will involve negotiations. It will involve military action.”