Reps revisit state police

The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, 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 same state police bill was passed by the seventh Assembly of the House but was not signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Consequently, the Bill was referred to the Special Ad-hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution for more legislative inputs.

Leading debate on the general principles of the proposed Bill, Honourable Abiodun Awoleye, said that there was urgent need for an amendment to the 1999 Constitution to allow the government establish a state police in all the states.

He stated that the Nigeria Police (NP) as presently constituted is highly centralised and it is very far away from the people.

The lawmaker further argued that the establishment of a state police will change the orientation of the Nigeria Police and added that a state police is more service oriented.

He expressed the views that the high level of crime and criminality in the country is as a result of the centralised nature of the Nigeria Police.

He also called for the establishment of Police Councils and Police Service Commission in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Speaking in support, Honourable Kayode Oladele, stated that the problem of the Nigeria Police is that officers do not have good knowledge of the terrain.

He noted that in the current policing structure, once an officer is transferred, tracking and investigation of crime becomes difficult.

He added that a decentralised police will address all forms of crimes including high tech crimes.

The bill scaled through second reading when it was put to vote by the Speaker, Hon Yakubu Dogara.