Insecurity: Reps pass State Police Bill for second reading - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Insecurity: Reps pass State Police Bill for second reading


The House of Representatives has passed for second reading, a bill seeking to alter the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to provide for the establishment of State Police.

Titled "A Bill for an Act to Alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Provide for Establishment of State Police and for Related Matters (HB. 617)," the proposed legislation was sponsored by the Deputy Speaker Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu and 14 other lawmakers.

Leading the debate on its general principles of n, one of the co-sponsors, Hon. Tolani Shagaya noted that the primary purpose of government as enshrined in Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Altered) is the security and welfare of the citizens. 

He also noted that in recent times, the nation's collective security has been greatly challenged and state policing is not only inevitable, but urgently desired to tackle the mounting challenges of insecurity.

The lawmaker explained that the establishment of State Police is a clarion call for a tailored, community-centric policing system; and an acknowledgment that our states are uniquely positioned to address the security challenges within their borders.

Listing some of the key innovations of the proposed alteration, he said, "the transfer of "Police" from the "Exclusive Legislative List" to the "Concurrent Legislative List", a move that effectively empowers States to have State controlled policing; the introduction of a comprehensive framework to ensure cohesion as well as accountability and uniform standards between the Federal Police and State Police; the provision of prescribed rigorous safeguards preventing unwarranted interference by the Federal Police in State Police affairs, emphasising collaboration and intervention only under well-defined circumstances.

Others included "the establishment of State Police Service Commissions as distinct from the Federal Police Service Commission with clearly defined roles and jurisdictions; a re-calibration of the National Police Council to include the Chairmen of the State Police Service Commissions, emphasising the collaborative and consultative nature of policing in our federal system, a recognition of the possible financial challenges which may be faced by States Police, by empowering the Federal Government to provide grants or aids. subject to the approval of the National Assembly, thus ensuring adequate resources for effective policing, etc."

Shagaya added that the alterations proposed in the Bill are not just alterations to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but also the building blocks of a more secure, accountable and resilient Nigeria.

Contributing in support of the bill, Hon. Ahmed Jaha stated that the bill is timely as security is the responsibility of all and everybody's business. 

He noted that with community policing and Nigerian police working in tandem, they will rid our communities of all forms of crime.

Also, Hon. Babajimi Benson supported the bill, commending the Deputy Speaker for initiating it.

On his part, Hon. Awaji-Inombek Abiante in supporting the bill, noted that Nigeria has had enough of insecurity and establishing state police is a way we can ensure that we can sleep with our eyes closed.

Speaking against the bill,  Rep. Aliyu Madaki opposed saying that, the state police should not be used as a platform to just create employment because the issue is beyond politics.

Also, Rep. Sada Soli Jibia express concern that, federal government is still struggling to fund the 400,000 Police, so creating a state police which is a capital intensive process will be an added burden on the state and may be subject to abuse.

The bill when put to vote got the support of the majority of the members.

It was later referred to the Committee on Constitution Review by the Deputy Speaker who presided over the session.

He urged members who have further inputs on the bill to channel such concerns to the committee.

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