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Is the Cross River State Green Police legal?


Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade[Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade]

Recently the Government of Cross River State of Nigeria placed an advertisement in some newspapers in the country requesting interested people to apply

for employment in the proposed Green Police that it intends to create.

The move by the Government of Cross River State to create a “Police” force has caused quite a consternation in some circles in the country.

This is in view of the fact that Police is an item in the exclusive legislative list of the Constitution which only the National Assembly has the power to legislate on.

Under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) only the Federal Government of Nigeria has the legislative competence to create a Police force in the country under whatever name so called. So the creation of a “Green” or “Red” or “Black” Police by any State Government in the country is Unconstitutional and ultra vires.

Indeed , Item 45 of Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) stipulates that Police and other government security services established by law are matters which only the National Assembly is exclusively conferred with the power to make law.

Also, Section 214 subsection 1 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (supra), provide thus:

“There shall be a police force for Nigeria, which shall be known as the Nigeria Police Force, and subject to the provisions of this section no other police force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof”

So, the name “Green” Police will surely conflict with that of the Nigeria Police Force.

It follows therefore that the Green Police by it nomenclature is Unconstitutional. Even if the intention of the Cross River State Government in creating the Green Police is lofty and to ensure that the forestry resources of the State are not depleted; that will not cloth the move with legality.

Nevertheless, if Governor Ben Ayade wants to protect the forest resources of the State must he create the Green Police?

I know that the Department of Forestry of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources already has a Forest Guard entrusted with the responsibility of protection of the forest resources of the State; so if this is the case, why would Governor Ayade want to duplicate the function of the Forest Guard by creating a Green Police?

Governor Ayade should drop the idea of creating a Green Police otherwise he would surely run into constitutional hurdles. He should rather expand and equip the existing Forestry Guard Corps of the Cross River State Forestry Commission.

Okoi Obono-Obla

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