OrderPaperToday– The Senate has began the amendment of the Police Act to provide for community policing, limit the powers of the inspector general of police and provide a tenure for the position, among others.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Jika Halliru (APC, Bauchi) during plenary on Thursday, is coming on the backdrop of calls to create community and state police which was recently endorsed by the inspector general of Police, Mohammed Adamu.
Speaking on the general principles of the bill, Jika disclosed that it provides for the establishment of community police forums and boards by the commissioner of police of each state that shall consist of representatives of the Police Force and the local community in the state.
“This, clearly, is a paradigm shift from the traditional police system to a community-participatory system of policing, uniting ordinary citizens in their respective communities with the police in the prevention, detection and resolving crimes.”
Other provisions in the Act to be amended include the appointment and removal of IGPs which became contentious in the 8th assembly before its tenure elapsed.
“Another amendment has to do with the tenure of office of IGP-A 5-year was recommended for each IGP, to address the challenge of non-committal of the IGP to effect meaningful changes due to the usual short tenure of most IGPs,” Jika explained, adding, “For instance, since 1999, there have been 10 IGPs, including the present one. This is an average of 2 years per IGP. Provisions relating to the removal of a serving IGP are so crucial that they have also been inserted in this new Bill.”
In response to the lacuna in the present law on the functions of the IGP, the Bauchi senator said the new bill clearly states the limit of the powers and functions of the IGP and thus, will improve accountability.
He continued, “The new Bill has equally proposed to increase the number of persons that have a say in assignment of commissioners of police to the different states of the federation to include state governors and the minister of the FCT. It stipulates the Police Service Commission as the appointing authority and also provides for commissioners of police to be appointed to head of departments and other operational units.
The bill also addresses discrimination against women in the Police Force with a clause prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender in the Nigeria Police Force.
Jika urged his colleagues to give it the urgency it deserves “as it leverages the existing legal gaps in the extant Nigeria Police Act which has resulted in administrative bottlenecks and the general poor policing and heightened insecurity across Nigeria.”