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No word on kidnapped students as Senator Karimi makes case for State Police

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By Ralph Omololu Agbana

48 hours after the kidnap of an unspecified number of university students from a university in Kogi State, there has been no word on their rescue though local hunters and security operatives have been combing the bushes around the school for them.

No demand for ransom has been made public yet and securi.

Worried, Senator Sunday Karimi (APC, Kogi West) has commiserated the people of Ejiba, Yagba West Local Council, Kogi State and the Confluence University of Science and Technology (CUSTECH), Osara in Kogi Central Senatorial District, over the recent incidents of kidnapping in the two communities.

The Senator expressed his heartfelt sympathy with the victims, residents and students in Ejiba and the university communities who have been made to lose their sleep in the aftermath of the criminal activities, which occured on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

Some gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen on Thursday night attacked the CUSTECH, Osara, along Abuja- Lokoja-Okene federal road.

The gunmen reportedly invaded the university campus shooting sporadically while students who went for night reading classes scampered for safety.

Eyewitnesses reported that the invaders headed straight to the lecture rooms, flogged some of the students and made away with yet to be ascertained number of hostages.

Earlier, on Tuesday, kidnappers, numbering about 10, dressed in black and identified as Fulani stormed Ejiba Central Market, where two residents were abducted including a prominent businesswoman. One of the kidnap victims’ mother also suffered injuries from the matchet attacks on her leg.

Reacting to the twin incidents on Friday, Senator Karimi  said the latest attacks in Kogi State and similar incidents across the country, have further reignited the urgent need for a review of the country’s security architecture. He commended Governor Usman Ododo for the recent effort by the state government which donated 120 vehicles and 44 motorcycles to boost community policing initiatives in all 21 Local Government Areas of the state.

He however noted that a complimentary state policing would go a long way curbing the resurgence of the ugly incidents like the recent attacks on Ejiba and Osara.

Meanwhile, confirmation came last night from the office of the Secretay to the Yagba West Local Council,  Victor Oluwafemi that one of the kidnap victims had regained his freedom.

“One is back today, to the glory of God..And no ransom paid”, the Yagba West SLG stated without further details.

*Imperatives For State Police  by Senator Karimi*

Speaking exclusively with The Guardian on Friday, Senator Sunday Karimi who represents Kogi West Senatorial District disclosed that a bill to allow the establishment of state policing is on the way in the National Assembly.  According to the senator, the draft Bill, sponsored by him, seeks a key amendment to Section 214 of the Constitution, which provides that there will be one police in Nigeria.

“And we are saying that any state that is willing and able to have a state police should be constitutionally empowered to establish a state police”, he said, adding,  “They might call it anything they like. They will operate under the guidelines of the National police council. We are moving police from the exclusive legislative list to concurrent list. So, States  by respective House of Assembly, pursuant to the Constitution make laws establishing State police having complied with the guidelines established by the National  Police Council, which set the guidelines for the establishment of state police. Once they get the National Police Council’s approval, the state House of Assembly can pass a law in your state establishing a state police. The State police will now be enforcing criminal laws within the state while the federal police, which is still present in all the states of the federation, will be enforcing federal criminal laws in all States and enforce Penal and Criminal Code  any states where there is no state police. The idea is that any State that can fund Police and is willing can have State Police which shall compliment Federal Police in its jurisdiction.

Karimi also stated that, “This is akin to what we have in other Federal systems of government, for instance,  Canada, India and the United States of America where we have the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and still have the New York Police Department (NYPD) and all of them are coordinated under the Home Office.

“Any state that wishes to have a state police will only have to compliment the federal police. For instance, kidnapping  is a state offence punishable under the state penal code law. The same offence qualifies as a federal offence under federal laws (Terrorism Prevention Act 2022).

“Assuming that we have state police in Kogi State, because it is closer to the grassroots,  it can investigate that offence effectively without prejudice  to the power of the federal police to investigate the offence. Based on the investigation of the state police, the Attorney-General of the State or the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) can prosecute that offence as a state offence (especially that the recent ammendment of the Constitution 2023 giving us a complete administration of criminal justice system in the state by allowing States to establish correctional centres, all this to ensure effective administration of justice system at the subnational level complimentary to Federal).

“Likewise, Federal Attorney-General and the Inspector General of Police can, if they think the crime (kidnapping) committed in the State is of a magnitude to attract federal attention, may decide to  prosecute the same offender under the Terrorism Prevention Act 2023, as a federal offence giving no room of escape of criminals”.

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