The House of Representatives has considered and passed for Second Reading, a Bill for an Act to Alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) to provide for the Establishment of State Police and to Ensure Effective Community Policing in Nigeria and for other related matters.
The bill seeks to compel President Muhammadu Buhari or any incumbent president to establish State Police in all 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Sponsor, Abiodun Awoleye led debate on the general principles of the proposed bill and disclosed that there is urgent need for an amendment to the 1999 Constitution to allow for the establishment of police departments by states.
The lawmaker further explained that the bill seeks to replace the tittle of “Nigerian Police Force” with the “Nigerian Police Service” in the constitution. This is even as the bill is seeking the establishment of state police council and state police commission in the 36 states and the FCT.
He argued that the police, as presently constituted isn’t strongly represented as the grassroots, thereby making community policing strong on paper but weak in implementation. He noted that the global trend was to take policing close to the people.
Speaking in support of the bill, Kayode Oladele said the problem of the police is that officers do not have good knowledge of the communities where they serve.
He also observed that with the current policing structure, once an officer is transferred, it negatively affects the investigation of crime becomes difficult.
Oladele added that a decentralised Police Force was fundamental to improving on information gathering to prevent come such kidnapping and terrorism which he said has been on the rise in different parts of the country.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara allowed the bill to pass Second Reading.
In his intervention, Dogara said it would amount to a waste of legislative time if the chamber debated contentious issues in the proposed legislation as thorny matters in the bill would be address by the relevant committee
Thereafter, he referred the bill to the Special Ad-hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution for legislative consideration.
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