OrderPaperToday – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has stressed the need for the country to rid the Nigeria Police Force of bad eggs to build public confidence in law enforcement and ensure a more secure country.
Mr. Gbajabiamila said this while declaring open a public hearing on two police bills convened by the House Committee on Police Affairs held at the National Assembly on Thursday.
The bills are as follows: “A bill for an Act to Repeal the Police Service Commission Act and Enact the Police Service Commission Bill, 2020 to strengthen the Commission to be more functional in its operations, and for Related Matters (HB. 1112),” and:
“A bill for an Act to provide for establishment of the National Institute for Police Studies, to provide for administration and management of the institute and determining the standard of knowledge and skills to be acquired by the personnel of the institute, and for Related Matters (HB.1048).”
The first bill intends to institute an independent system for holding erring police officers to account for abuses of power and related misconduct in office.
Mr. Gbajabiamila, noted that reforming the Nigerian security architecture was the best way forward for the country.
“Our policing system and law enforcement is one of the cardinal commitments of the 9th House of Representatives. It is a commitment against which our tenure in office will be measured. When the time for assessment and judgment comes, we must not be found wanting,” he said.
According to him, “the Nigerian people deserve a Police Force that they can trust. They deserve a Police Force that acts within the limits of the law and respects the rule of law. We will do everything in our power to meet these expectations.”
The Speaker also disclosed that the House will review and address the deficits hindering effective policing in the country.
“We will review and put in efforts at addressing the statutory deficits that have hindered the effective operation of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) over the years. Beyond statutory reform, there is a need for concerted efforts to address recruitment and training, funding and operational priorities. These issues are the responsibility of the Police Force administration and the executive.
“Nonetheless, the 9th House of Representatives will be part of those conversations around effecting changes in this regard, and we will do our utmost to ensure that everything that ought to be done is done and done right”, he reassured.
According to the Speaker, “There are, let me quickly say, a zillion or gazillion good policemen, in fact, a good majority of our policemen are gentlemen and officers, upstanding professionals but we all know the popular saying that a rotten egg can spoil the whole basket. We must attempt to weed out the few rotten eggs that seem to give the police force, men and women who lay their lives and put their lives out there on a daily for you and I and that is why we are taking this bill seriously.
On the police commission bill, the speaker said it “proposes changes to the composition of the Police Service Commission (PSC). It further proposes reorganizing the Commission to be public-facing and able to receive and investigate complaints against Police Officers.
“This Bill will increase the minimum requirement for recruitment into the constabulary and allow for the recruitment of more qualified candidates into the Nigerian Police Force (NPF).
“These objectives are sacrosanct. The only question before us at this public hearing is how best to achieve them. Achieving them is non-negotiable, it is a roadmap on how to get there, that we are looking to address at this public hearing”.
Recall that following the #EndSARS protests that ground the nation last October, the Reps had stepped up a flurry of legislative activities, including consultations to achieve broad-based policing reforms in the country.