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Bill to create State Police passes second reading at House of Reps

A bill to decentralise the police and to make legal, regional security outfits like Amotekun, Hisbah and ESN has passed second reading at the floor of the Federal House of Representatives.

The bill which seeks to amend the 1999 Constitution was brought to the floor by Luke Onofiok, the Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary.

While presenting the bill, Onofiok said the bill seeks change the Constitution “to provide for state police and other state government security services to enhance security and preservation of lives and properties in Nigeria”

The proposal reads, “(31) The National Assembly may make laws for the establishment of the federal police and other federal government security services;

“(32) A House of Assembly may make laws for the establishment of state police and other state government security services.”

The new paragraphs read, “(9) A State Police Council shall comprise the following members: (a) the governor, who shall be the chairman; (b) the chairman of the State Police Service Commission; and (c) State Commissioner of Police.

Onofiok Luke from Akwa Ibom sponsored the bill

“(10) The functions of a State Police Council shall include (a) the organisation and administration of a State Police Force and all other matters relating thereto (not being matters relating to the use and operational control of the Force or the appointment, disciplinary control and dismissal of members of the Force); (b) the general supervision of a State Police Force; and (c) advising the governor on the appointment of State Commissioner of Police.”

Leading debate on the bill, Luke said, “Many years after independence, Nigeria has continually been beset with insecurity ranging from terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery and domestic violence. Granted that there is no society without crime or manifestation of criminal behaviour, our inability to bring to the barest minimum crime is a scathing indictment on the current security architecture and structure in the country.

“The federal structuring of our security does not encourage community policing or localisation of policing. Recruitment and subsequent deployment of police officers in their local area is one of the major ways of curbing crime. Such officers understand the area, terrain, language, behaviour and attitude of the people he or she is policing.

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