Senate has strengthened the hope of establishing the State Police in Nigeria when a bill to that effect was passed for second reading during plenary.
The upper legislative chamber had during the 8th session had responded to the rising wave of killings in Plateau State and several other states by calling for the decentralisation of the Nigeria Police from the federal level to the states.
Similarly, a “Presidential Panel on SARS Reform (2018)” headed by the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, recommended the establishment of state and local government police in its report.
Christened “A bill for an Act to alter the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to provide for the establishment of Sate Police and other related Matters, 2020”, it is being sponsored by the immediate past deputy senate president, Senator Ike Ekweremadu (PDP Enugu West).
The bill, among others, seeks to establish the Federal Police, State Police, National Police Service Commission, National Police Council, and State Police Service Commission for the States.
It explains that the Federal Police shall be responsible for the maintenance of public security, preservation of public order and security of persons and property throughout the federation to the extent provided for under the constitution or by an Act of the National Assembly.
It also states that: “the State Police shall be organised and administered in accordance with such provisions as may be prescribed by a Law of the House of Assembly of a State subject to the framework and guidelines established by an Act of the National Assembly.
The bill further provides for Commissioner of State Police, who shall be appointed by the Governor of the state on the advice of the National Police Service Commission, subject to confirmation of such appointment by the House of Assembly of the State.
According to the bill, the State of State Police Commissioner shall be in office for a period of five years only or until he attains a retirement age prescribed by law, whichever is earlier.
Part of the bill reads: “the Governor may give to the Commissioner of Police such lawful directives with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order as he may consider necessary, and the Commissioner of Police shall comply with those directives.
“Where the Commissioner of Police feels that any order given is unlawful or contradicts general policing standards or practice, he may request that the matter be referred to the State Police Service Commission for review.
“The decision of the State Police Service Commission shall be final and shall not be inquired into by any court.
“An Act of the National Assembly may prescribe a bi-annual certification review of the activities of State Police by the National Police Service Commission to ensure they meet up with approved national standards and guidelines of policing and their operations do not undermine national integrity, promote ethnic, tribal or sectional agenda or marginalize any segment of the society within the state.”
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