The House of Representatives on Wednesday took a step towards including State Police Police in the Nigerian constitution.
A new constitution amendment Bill sponsored by the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila seeks to remove the issue of Policing from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent List.
The explanatory note of the proposed amendment Bill titled :”Constitution of the Federal Republic on Nigeria (Alteration) Bill, 2018″ reads:
“This Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Cap. 23, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 to delete item 45 from the exclusive legislative list, grant the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly the power to make laws with respect to the creation, formation and control of Police and other Government security Services in Nigeria.”
It further explains:.”The National Assembly may make laws for the Federation or any part thereof with respect to-
a. Police force and other government security services in respect of anything pertaining to internal security and the maintenance of law and order in Nigeria
b. Regulation of ownership and control of Federal Police and other Government security services.
(2) A House of Assembly of a State may make laws with respect to:
a. The creation, formation or/and establishment of Police Force and other security services in respect of any matter pertaining to internal security and the maintenance of law and order within that state and with regard to the enforcement of any law validly made by the House of Assembly of that state.
b. Regulation of ownership and control of State Police and other State Government security services.
“The Principal Act is hereby amended in section by creating new sections… as follows:
217. (1) “There shall be a police force in each state of the Federation.
(2) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution – (a) a state Police Force shall be organized and administered in accordance with such provisions as may be prescribed by an act of the State House of Assembly: (b) members of state Police shall have such powers and duties as maybe conferred upon them by law”;
218. (1) “There shall be – (a) a Commissioner of Police who shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the State Police Council from among serving members of the State Police Force (b) a Head of Police for each state of the Local Government Area of the State to be appointed by the State Police Service Commission (2) The State Police Force shall be under the command of the State Commissioner of Police. (3) The Governor or such other Commissioner of the Government of the State as he may authorize in that behalf may give to the Commissioner of Police such lawful directions with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order as he may consider necessary, and the Commissioner of Police shall comply with those direction or cause them to be compiled with”.
219. (1) “Subject to the provisions of this constitution, the State House of Assembly may make laws for the further regulation and control of the State Police”.
While debating the killings in Plateau State and other areas in the country on Tuesday, Gbajabiamila had advocated the establishment of state police, saying,
“The Plateau killings is inexplicable, the House must react but in reacting, solution must be proffered.
“The security architecture of this country must be changed and it is a mission to be accomplished. Arguments against and for the police are good but State police has become imperative, with state governors having no control over the police even as Chief security officers.
“It is time for the House to employ all its legislative tool to fast track the amendment of the constitution, if we are all in agreement, rather than just talking about it, same tool used to fast track the Petroleum Industry Bill should be employed”.
Meanwhile, former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has commended the National Assembly for its decision to amend the constitution and formally provide for state police and community policing in the country.
Atiku said in a statement sent to Frontline News Onlinethe amendment of with regard to state and community policing is timely as it will deal with the deteriorating state of insecurity characterised by persistent loses of lives of innocent Nigerians at the hands of armed groups.
The former Vice-President also condoled with families and colleagues of seven police officers who were killed by armed bandits in Abuja in the line of duty.
He said that lawmakers have by their action, demonstrated courage in seizing the initiative to intervene in the country’s security crisis.
Recalling the massacres in Zamfara, Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Adamawa and Kaduna States and the murder of seven policemen in Abuja while on active duty, the former Vice President noted that decisive action is needed to address the current security challenges.
According to him, given the seeming despair and helplessness of the citizens in the face of frequent deadly attacks, the National Assembly has a responsibility to give legal teeth to the creation of state police and community policing in the country.
“A peculiar crisis demands a decisive action, and I am one hundred percent behind the National Assembly in their efforts to strengthen the hands of state governments in providing security to their citizens”, Atiku was quoted as saying.
The Waziri Adamawa noted that leaving the citizens to their fate is not an option, adding that once a democratic government seems overwhelmed or paralyzed by security challenges, the initiative by the National Assembly should be welcomed by all Nigerians.
The former Vice-President advised that security strategies should be periodically reviewed because the criminals involved are also studying the weaknesses and strengths of our security system.