OrderPaperToday – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has disclosed that the House will stop at nothing to ensure total policing reforms.
He however identified that trust between the police force and communities is key to having a good policing system in the country but that it will be hard to build with weak disciplinary mechanisms.
Gbajabimila made these known while addressing stakeholders at the 9th House Legislative Agenda Public Policy Dialogue Series with the theme ‘Policing and Human Rights in Nigeria’ held in Abuja Wednesday
The call for police reforms has been getting louder following the #EndSARS nationwide protests which saw youths troop out strongly to demand for end to police brutality and other extrajudicial violence by state security services.
According to the speaker, “effective policing is only possible when the policing institutions are grounded in the rule of law, when they are accountable and when the justice system in its entirety is fair to all who have cause to appear before it. We cannot have an effective policing system when the citizens do not have faith that the Police will treat them fairly every time, no matter the circumstance.
“We do not have an effective system of policing when the relationships between communities and the Police are defined by fear and mistrust. The Police cannot be effective when the mechanisms for accountability and discipline are too weak to identify, remove and prosecute rogue officers as a matter of course.
“We will have succeeded in building modern and effective Police when service in the Nigeria Police Force consistently attracts the best and brightest in our country without objection.
“When we think about policing reforms, we must resist the urge to focus only on making new rules about police conduct, and establishing new ways of holding officers accountable for failures to meet the standards of behaviour that we expect from them. Policing reform is more profound than that. Yes, we must begin by holding officers accountable, but we cannot stop there.”
“This moment is also about our nation’s young people, a generation that never witnessed military rule, who were born into and have lived their entire lives in a democracy. Too often, and for decades, that democracy has unfortunately fallen short of their expectations.”
The Speaker in his speech also urged the public to make their inputs toward the enactment of the Police Service Commission (Reform) Bill, 2020.
The Chairman of the ad hoc committee on 9th House legislative agenda, Henry Nwawuba, in his speech assured the participants that the views and suggestions will form parts of the Police Service Commission bill.
“We intend to collate the opinions, observations and ideas of stakeholders and citizens to form part of the Bill so that the House will consider. This interaction doesn’t usurp the legislative process of the Bill,” he however stressed.
The Reps have indicated intention to create a broad partnership with stakeholders in tackling the issue of policing reforms since the outbreak of the #EndSARS protests.