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Bill for establishment of service-oriented modern police passes 2nd reading

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A Bill for the establishment of a service-oriented modern police that will meet globally acceptable policing standards, in a democratic setting, has passed second reading in the Senate on Tuesday.

This followed the presentation of the lead debate by Deputy Majority Leader, Sen. Bala Na’Allah during plenary.

“The general idea behind this Bill is the establishment of a service-oriented modern police that will meet globally acceptable policing standards in a democratic setting.

“This is to replace the current Police Force which was conceptualised and established in the colonial environment more to protect colonial interest than to protect and safeguard the Nigerian citizens,’’ he said.

The Bill was read for the first time on May 30.

Na’Allah, who sponsored the bill, said the philosophy of the Bill was to conceptualise the Police as a service in which the people and communities would be core stakeholders.

He also said the Bill, when passed and assented into law by the president, would replace the Police Act which came into effect on April 1, 1943 with all its subsequent amendments.

“The highlight of the Bill includes: Section 5, which seeks to establish for Nigeria, a Police organisation to be known as the Nigeria Police to replace the Nigeria Police Force”.

According to the Senator, it is also to remove the colonial vestiges of the police.

“Making the Police more responsive to modern day policing in an independent nation governed by the Constitution and laws promulgated there-under and to bring it within acceptable global standards of police in democratic countries.

“Unlike the existing Police Act, the Bill outlines the roles and duties of the Police hierarchy to avoid role conflict and to introduce a Responsibility Clause to make them more effective.’’

He explained that though the Bill was not an absolute panacea to the country policing problem, it would be a major contribution to addressing it.

The Deputy Majority Leader who said he was not opposed to the creation of state police, noted that there were some states that could not afford state police.

“In the event that the Bill for the creation of state police succeeds in the Senate and House of Representatives, states that are going to rely heavily on the Federal Police will continue to go through this odium.

“It is in line with this that it is important to revisit the entire structure of the Nigeria Police.’’

Contributing, Sen. James Manager (PDP-Delta) said that the structure of the current police force was no longer serving its purpose.

“Whether you create state police or not, there will be a federal police just like it is happening in the UK.

“Even if you have a state police, we need to also have federal police that will serve the purpose so that they will be doing things together,’’ he said.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary said: “I’m also worried by the fact that we have 30,000 policemen we can deploy to a state for election.

“If we have 30,000 policemen and that will ensure security of life and property, ultimately ending in a free and fair election, there is no problem, sometimes some of these statistics are misleading,’’ he said.

Ekweremadu said the Senate was committed to a permanent solution to the policing problems, especially with the frustrations the country was having with regards to killings.

“These killings led the Senate to decide that we need to consider the issue of state and community police.

“We have done sufficient work on that; the Committee on Constitutional Review will look at the final draft and by Thursday take the first reading.’’

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