Senate President David Mark on Friday declared his support for the creation of state police.
Mark said he had discovered the necessity of state police and had since dropped his opposition against it.
Mark made the declaration in Asaba, Delta, at the opening a two-day Retreat of the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution.He said that the fears expressed that governors would use the police as instrument of oppression could not undermine the huge benefits that would accrue from it.
He added that the existence of state police would outlive the governors, saying that “by the provision of the constitution no governor could stay in office for more than eight years”.
He noted that since the constitution review process began, there had been a broad consensus from stakeholders on some specific areas that should be amended and urged the committee to articulate them properly.
“A broad consensus on the Constitution review has been crystalised around some issues, which include devolution of power, fiscal federalism, concept of federating unit, local government autonomy, judicial reforms, creation of state and state police.''
Mark said the issue of state police was paramount and urged the members of the committee to seriously deliberate on it during the retreat, adding that issues relating to citizenship, indigenisation and role of traditional rulers should not be undermined.
He, however, remarked that constitution amendment alone could not address all the challenges of the nation, saying that the citizens must be willing to support, adopt and exercise their part of the responsibilities.
He acknowledged that the task of constitutional amendment was not easy one but said that it was surmountable.
He said that with a collective effort of the National Assembly, the federal and state governments and all stakeholders the task would be accomplished.
“Constitution review is not an end in itself. To run a democratic system successfully, the leaders and the led must show democratic impulse because it is a cultural basis for the democratic process,'' he said.
He assured Nigerians that the National Assembly would not hoist a “fait accompli” on Nigerians in the guise of a Constitution and said that the lawmakers would resist any attempt for a minority view to be imposed on the people.
He commended the Senate committee for organising the retreat and also expressed gratitude to the government and people of Delta for accepting to host the committee for the assignment.
On his part, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, represented by his deputy, said that the Senate committee on the constitution review was working in tandem with its counterpart in the lower chamber.
Tambuwal, who was represented by the Deputy Speaker, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, said the House of Representatives would ensure that the yearnings and aspirations of the people would be adequately represented in the review process.
He charged participants at the retreat to show commitment to the assignment and expressed desire that the review of the Constitution could be completed before the end of the second quarter of 2013.