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Reps debate state police bill, want guns for regional outfits

The House of Representatives has passed for second reading, a bill seeking to amend the 1999 Constitution to allow creation of state police and legalise regional security outfits.



The current police system will be decentralised by moving police from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent List.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Onofiok Luke, who sponsored the bill, said in the explanatory note that the bill seeks to alter the constitution “to provide for state police and other state government security services to enhance security and preservation of lives and properties in Nigeria.”



The bill especially proposes amendment to Section 197(1) by inserting new Paragraphs ‘e’ and ‘f’ to provide for ‘State Police Council’ and ‘State Police Service Commission,’ respectively.

The proposal reads, “(31) The National Assembly may make laws for the establishment of the federal police and other federal government security services;



“(32) A House of Assembly may make laws for the establishment of state police and other state government security services.”

The Third Schedule to the Constitution will also be altered by inserting new Paragraphs 9 to 12.

Leading debate on the bill, Luke said, “The federal structuring of our security does not encourage community policing or localisation of policing. Recruitment and subsequent deployment of police officers in their local area is one of the major ways of curbing crime. Such officers understand the area, terrain, language, behaviour and attitude of the people he or she is policing.

“Nigeria, a country with over 201 million people, is grossly under policed with about 400,000 police personnel. This number falls far short of the United Nation’s recommendation of ratio 1 per 400 citizens.”

The Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, stated that the creation of state police is long overdue with the current security crises across the country.

The House had earlier on June 9, 2021, approved a bill to amend the 1999 Constitution to recognise security outfits created by states to complement the Nigeria Police Force in the effort to protect lives and property.

Sponsored by Anthony Afe from Delta State, the legislation is titled ‘A Bill for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to Give Legal Backing to State Security Outfit to Complement the Nigeria Police Force.’



 

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