By Olugbenga Salami
Plan by the Senate to subject the appointment and removal of the Inspector General of Police, IGP to its confirmation on Wednesday met stiff opposition by the Nigeria Police Force, NPF.
The Force, also kicked against move by the upper legislative chamber to reduce the number of serving Deputy Inspectors General of Police, DIGs from seven to one as proposed in an amendment bill for enactment of the Police Act, 2018 sponsored by Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, APC-Kebbi South.
It however aligned with proposal for five year tenure for IGP and adequate funding for effective and efficient discharge of its constitutional duties.
This is even as the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, a retired AIG, called on members of the National Assembly to slash their monthly jumbo pay for monies to be raised for proper funding of the Police.
Police positions on the draft bill which has 85 sections were made yesterday by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris and other relevant stakeholders during a public hearing session organised by the Senate Committee on Police Affairs.
The IGP in his submission said while the proposed Bill will help in reforming the Police and reposition it in its key role in administration of justice, “there are a few observations by the Police Force”.
“The confirmation and removal of Inspector General of Police by the Senate should be expunged from the bill.
“Appointment of the IGP as recommended by the Police Service Commission and nominated by the President without Senate confirmation is desirable to Police to avoid politicisation of the whole process”.
On proposal for one DIG as against existing multiple DIGs, the IGP said it would be counterproductive as unbearable pressures administratively and operationally would be put on IGP and the only DIG.
“Presently, I have seven DIGs working with me at the Force headquarters. Reducing them to just only one DIG will be retrogressive”, considering the enormity of administrative and operational responsibilities attached to the office of the IGP”, he said.
In his own submissions, the chairman, Police Service Commission, Mr. Musiliu Smith, a retired IGP said the Commission agreed totally with majority of the recommendations made in the bill, stressing that, if passed into law and effectively implemented, will improve the police service.
He however noted that the Police Affairs Committee could recommend adequate accommodation of officers and men of the Nigeria Police in Police environment for efficient service delivery.
He said more policemen should be accommodated in barracks nationwide while more living quarters should be provided for officers.
“More men should be in Police environment, barracks for the junior ranks and officers quarters for senior officers. This will make them to behave well and be well disciplined Police”, he said.
Oba Akiolu, in his submission advocated for improve welfare for policemen one of the ways of doing that according to him, ” is for the federal lawmakers to drastically cut down their monthly jumbo pay”.
Declaring the public hearing open, Senate President, represented by the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah said the Police in the country should be up to the task in securing lives and properties of Nigerians and expatriates.
He said the 75 years old colonial laws under which the Police operates need to be repealed and new laws enacted to put the Force abreast of modern day policing in line with global best practice.
Saraki said the new law, when enacted will guarantee better performance of Police and adequate protection of citizens fundamental rights and privileges under the law just as he advocated a comprehensive review of funding framework for the police force.
In his opening remarks , the sponsor of the bill, Senator Ibn Na’Allah said Nigeria Police which was in the past as one of the best Police force in the world, has regrettably has its credibility eroded.
He said the Police force has suffer in the hands of politicians and even the general public.
“Every attempt to insulate the police as responsible institution has failed. There are so many allegations against the police. Police need to be insulated from politics and politicians”, he said.