The Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, on Thursday explained how the state governors spend their security votes.
Fayemi, who addressed participants at a two-day multi-stakeholders meeting on the Peace and Inclusive Security Initiative organised by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum in partnership with the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) in Abuja, said the security votes collected by state governors are used to support security agencies and their operations to enhance security in the states.
He was responding to questions on what the governors do with security votes and why they are against local government autonomy.
He, however, said not all the governors collect security votes.
Fayemi said: “Security vote has a history. And I will urge you to look for a book by Chief Jerome Ugoji – ‘Serving three masters. You will find in that book the origins of security votes in Nigeria.
“You say what do we do with it? Without mincing words, I can’t speak for others, but I also get feedback from other states in my capacity as chairman of the governors’ forum.
“There are hardly any of these institutions that you are talking about that we do not fund. We fund the police.
“Quote me, state governors fund police more than the Federal Government. We buy them vehicles. We pay them allowances. In some cases, we even buy ammunition, of course under the authority.
“And if we are to engage our military in aid to civil authority, which you will find actually in 36 states in this country, we fund it.
“Today, the military is involved in internal security operations, which really is a problem, because for me, when you inflate the role of the security institution, beyond its primary responsibility, you also have consequences that will come with that. That may not be palatable.
“But that is where we are because most Nigerians don’t trust the police. They will still come and beg governors to say ‘can you ask the brigade commander to put a roadblock in my area’.”
“If you engage the military, in a civil authority, your state is responsible to pay for the operations of the men that are engaged in that activity and not expect the military also to share that burden because that is not their primary responsibility.
“You have taken them out of their primary responsibility, you have to pay for it. So we pay for that, we pay for the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps.
“There is no security institution that you have that states are not responsible to more than the Federal Government that has primary responsibility for them.”
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