The Senate has given bite to the establishment of state and community police to maintain public security, preservation of public order and security of persons and property.
Already, there are moves to give the Bill that has undergone the first reading accelerated consideration for second reading and subsequently, public hearing.
Entitled ”Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alteration) Bill, 2018, the bill that seeks to alter the 1999 Constitution for the creation of state police is sponsored by Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President, and co-sponsored by 49 other senators.
This bill also seeks to alter the provisions of the Constitution to establish state and community police; change the names of Nigeria Police Force to Federal Police Service; the Nigerian Police Service Commission to National Police Service Commission; the Nigerian Police Council to the National Police Council; and other related matters.
It would be recalled that while debating a motion sponsored by Senator Jonah Jang last week, lawmakers described the current centralization of policing in Nigeria as a colossal failure and stressed the urgent need to amend the constitution to allow for state and community police.
Speaking after the Bill passed first reading Thursday, Ekweremadu, who presided over the session, said: “The Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution has fulfilled its mandate. And now the Bill has been taken for the first time.
”I am sure that as soon as possible, we will take the second reading and probably send it to public hearing through the committee so that we fast-track it as directed by the Senate.”
According to the bill document which was obtained by Vanguard, state police will be headed by a commissioner who shall be appointed by the governor of a state on the advice of the National Police Service Commission, subject to confirmation of such appointment by the House of Assembly of the state.
If the Bill is passed, there shall also be the creation of the National Police Service Commission which shall be responsible for the appointment of persons to offices (other than office of the Inspector-General of Police) in the Federal Police; exercising disciplinary control over members of the federal police; recommending to the governor of a state the appointment of the commissioner of police, deputy commissioners of police and assistant commissioners of police of the state police, based on a list submitted to it by the State Police Service Commission of the relevant state and subject to confirmation by the House of Assembly of the State”
The State Police Service Commission shall also be recommending to the governor, the discipline and removal of the Commissioner of Police, Deputy Commissioners of Police and Assistant Commissioners of Police of the State Police; supervising the activities of the Federal Police and State Police to the extent provided for in this constitution or by an Act of the National Assembly; Prescribe standards for all police forces in the country in training, criminal intelligence data bases, forensic laboratories and render assistance to State Police in areas as may be requested by such State Police.”
On the headship of the State Police, document read: ” A State Police shall be headed by a Commissioner of Police who shall be appointed by the governor of the state on the advice of the National Police Service Commission, subject to confirmation of such appointment by the House of Assembly of the State.
“The term of office of the Commissioner of Police under a State Police shall be for a period of five years only or until he attains a retirement age prescribed by law, whichever is earlier.
“The governor or such other commissioner of the government of the state as he may authorise 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 directions or cause them to be complied with;
“Provided that where the Commissioner of Police feels that any order given under this subsection is unlawful or contradicts general policing standards or practice, he may request that the matter be referred to the State Police Service Commission for review and the decision of the State Police Service Commission shall be final.
“The question as to whether any, and if so what, directions have been given under this section shall not be inquired into by any court. An Act of the National Assembly may prescribe a bi-annual certification review of the activities of state police by the National Police Service Commission to ensure they meet up with approved national standards and guidelines of policing and their operations do not undermine national integrity, promote ethnic, tribal or sectional agenda or marginalize any segment of the society within the state.
“Section 216 is altered by substituting the provisions with the following: Removal of Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of Police of a State.
“An Inspector General of Police shall only be removed by the President upon the recommendation of the National Police Council praying that he be so removed on any of the following grounds- misconduct in the performance of his official duties; serious breach of policing standards; conviction of any offence by a court of law or tribunal, including administrative tribunals set up by the police authorities for internal discipline of police officers; Indictment by a judicial body or tribunal for corruption, fraud, embezzlement or other unacceptable conducts in office; bankruptcy; mental incapacity; and participation in political activities of any kind either within or outside the country and including sponsoring or giving aid to any political group or movement, provided that such removal shall be subject to approval by a resolution of a simple majority of the Senate.”
On funding, “the Federal Government may from time to time provide grant or aids to State Police on the recommendation of the National Police Service Commission subject to the approval of the National Assembly.
”Members of the Federal and State Police shall be entitled to bear arms in the execution of their policing duties and an Act of the National Assembly shall specify from time to time the type of arms that members of State Police shall bear.”