Reps set for final passage of bill on police, host community partnership bill

•Probe recklessness of security operatives against Nigerians •Adjourn plenary to 2nd June

Members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday expressed overwhelming for the passage of the bill which provides for the framework for the Police Force and ensure Cooperation and Partnership between the Police and host communities in maintaining peace, protecting lives and properties; and for related matters which was considered at the Committee of the Whole.

The lawmakers expressed the views during the clause-by-clause consideration of the report of the House Committee on Police Affairs, chaired by Hon. Bello Usman Kumo, laid on the 12th May 2020.

The bill is expected to pass through Third Reading at the next legislative day, when the House reconvenes from the Sallah break.

According to him, the proposed bill seeks to “repeal the Police Act, Cap. P19, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Enact Nigeria Police Act, 2020 to Provide for the Framework for the Police Force and ensure cooperation and partnership between the Police and host communities in maintaining peace, protecting lives and properties; and for related matters.

In his lead debate, Hon. Kumo explained that the bill which governs the operations of the Nigerian police and seeks to rectify issues in the 2004 Police Act to ensure efficiency, transparency, the adherence to human rights laws as well as other critical issues noted in the operations of the Nigeria Police.

The clauses voted on and carried by the lawmakers are: 1-3, 5-9, 11-69, 71-144 while Clauses 4, 10, 70 and the long title were amended and carried.

Also at plenary, the House resolved to investigate some of the recklessness of security operatives involved in internal peace mission against Nigerians across the country, just as it expressed displeasure over the spate of extra-judicial killings across the country.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Kabiru Alhassan Rurum, who decried the breach of the fundamental right to life as guaranteed by Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

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In his lead debate, Hon. Rurum noted that the extra-judicial killings erode the confidence of Nigerians in security operatives, even when they are paid by taxpayers to safeguard them, but they end up sniffing lives out of these same people who fund their activities through their taxes., and this distrust has a direct adverse effect on the cooperation between the Police and the public to combat crime.

He further observed that “Over time, there has been several reports of violation of Right of Nigerians by security agents in Nigeria, especially security operatives on internal peace-keeping missions across Nigeria. The House is worried that several incidences of extra-judicial killings by security agents in Nigeria often go unchecked and largely unreported.

“The House regrets and saddened by the reckless and wanton killings of armless civilians by security operatives on internal peace-keeping missions across Nigeria. The House is informed of the unfortunate and unwarranted killing of Mr Rinji Peter Bala, who was a vibrant 300 level Student of History and International Studies, at the University of Jos, by security operatives enforcing lockdown, in Jos Plateau state.

“The House is aware that my fellow Colleagues brought to the notice of the House, the brazen murder of many Nigerians by security operatives enforcing Iockdown in some parts of the country.

“The House is disturbed that the victim, a 20-year-old indigene of Kanke Local Government Area, from Gungji village, was my constituent and the only Son of his Parents left home strolling within his neighbourhood with friends, only to be picked up by security men on patrol and shot by one of the operatives at close range, without any form of provocation.

“The House is aware that this sad event had almost cost the fragile peace of Jos, with youths across the state trying to revolt the excesses of the security operatives, but for the swift intervention of elder statesmen and the Father of the deceased, Mr Peter Bala who waded in to calm frayed nerves and promised that due process of law will be followed to ensure that slain Rinji Peter Bala gets justice.”

While condemning the killing of the Late Rinji Peter Bala, by an officer attached to Operation Safe Heaven, Jos, Plateau State, the House mandated its Committees on Defense, Navy, Army, Air Force and Police Affairs to investigate the incident and ensure that the family of the deceased get justice and report back to the House within 2 weeks for further legislative action.

After the exhausting all the agenda scheduled for the day, the House resolved to adjourn plenary till 2nd June 2020.


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