Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo, says states will not fund community police.
Akeredolu was reacting to the statement by Adeleye Oyebade, deputy inspector-general of police in charge of research and planning, that states will be responsible for the salary and upkeep of community police officers.
The governor spoke in an interview with Channels Television on Wednesday.
Oyebade had also said Amotekun, a joint security outfit, will also complement the community policing.
“We are expecting them to put in 16 working hours in a week and the remuneration is going to be paid by the state government after we must have trained and retrained and got them deployed to the local government where they have been recruited because they know the culture, the language, the orientation and the topography of the area for them to be able to work with the police at that level,” Oyebade had said.
However, Akeredolu dismissed the suggestion, asking where the money to fund the security outfit would come from when some states are struggling to pay salaries and allocation has not been increased.
He said the governors have not been informed that they will shoulder that responsibility.
“I am sure that they are taking this thing too far. Governors will have to pay? We have discussed this thing before and we told them it is not going to be possible. Are you increasing our allocations? Which state governor will accept that? Other states might say, ‘Yes, we will pay’, but we will not pay,” he said.
“Let’s be fair to ourselves; we are running a federal system. Where is that money going to come from when we are struggling to pay salaries? Nobody has ever come to us to say we will pay salaries (of community policemen) anyway and if they come, we will write to say, no, we don’t have extra money to do that.”
The governor also said Amotekun would not operate under the community policing arrangement or be collapsed for it.
“It will never be accepted; it is not our thinking. We have a law that sets this up. If the DIG feels otherwise, there is always a place for us to ventilate it,” he said.
“We are not afraid of this. The law says Amotekun will operate under its own law; it is not going to be subsumed under any set-up. No.
“We will not collapse Amotekun for community policing. It will stand on its own. There is no intimidation. We are not people that can be intimidated (or) that the IG will give orders to. We will not. Amotekun is different. Community policing is different. If the IG does not understand, he will leave one day and other people will understand.
“We will work together; it is collaboration, not that it will be subsumed. The law is there and if anybody finds a fault in that law, we can go to court and ventilate whatever position in it. The DIG is totally wrong, Amotekun will not be subsumed under the community policing.”
The governor added that a case is being made for Amotekun operatives to be allowed to bear arms, saying they are only allowed to carry non-prohibited firearms at the moment.
He noted that it would be suicidal to confront criminal elements with such type of ammunition, adding that the officers are disciplined people who won’t misuse the opportunity.