State Police Bill scales 2nd reading in House of Reps

The Constitution alteration Bill seeking to estabilise the State Police, has scaled second reading on floor of the House of Representatives. 

Sponsored by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, and 13 other members, the Bill titled; ‘Also Bill for an Act to Alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria  to Provide for the Establishment of State Police, and For Related Matters was on Tuesday referred to the Special Ad hoc Committee for the Review of the Constitution for further legislative action.

President Bola Tinubu last Thursday met with state governors in Abuja during which it was reported that they considered the possibility of setting up state police.

“Now, there is also a discussion around the issue of state police. The federal government and the state governments are mulling the possibility of setting up state police”, Minister of Information,  Mohammed Idris told journalists after the said meeting.

Leading debate on its general principles, and on behalf of other sponsors, Hon. Tolani Shagaya said “We must acknowledge the fact that the fabric of any democracy is woven with the threads of constant adaptation to the evolving needs of its society. At this point in our nationhood, State Policing is not only inevitable, but urgently desired to tackle the mounting challenges of insecurity”.

The lawmaker described the proposed instrument emerging “as a necessary response to several calls for a decentralised and community-oriented approach to law enforcement. It seeks to navigate the complex landscape of security challenges by empowering our states with the means to address issues unique to their localities.

“This proposed alteration represents not just a legal adjustment to our grundorm, but a visionary leap towards a safer, more secure, and harmonious Nigeria”.

On the key provisions in the Bill, he said it comprises 18 clauses seekingredients to alter Sections 34, 35, 39, 42, 84, 89 and 129 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Altered). It also seeks to alter Sections 153, 197, 214, 215 and 216 of the Constitution. Furthermore, the Bill seeks to alter Chapter VI Part IlI, Second Schedule, Part Il of the Third Schedule and Part I of the Third Schedule of the Constitution as well. 

“Among others, some of the key innovations of this proposed alteration include -(a) the transfer of “Police” from the “Exclusive Legislative List” to the “Concurrent Legislative List”, a move that effectively empowers States to have State controlled policing;

(b) the introduction of a comprehensive framework to ensure cohesion as well as accountability and uniform standards between the Federal Police and State Police;

(c) the provision of prescribed rigorous safeguards preventing unwarranted interference by the Federal Police in State Police affairs, emphasising collaboration and intervention only under well-defined circumstances;

(d) the establishment of State Police Service Commissions as distinct from the Federal Police Service Commission with clearly defined roles and jurisdictions;

(e) a re-calibration of the National Police Council to include the Chairmen of the State Police Service Commissions, emphasising the collaborative and consultative nature of policing in our federal systern;

(f) a recognition of the possible financial challenges which may be faced by States Police, by empowering the Federal Government to provide grants or aids. subject to the approval of the National Assembly, thus ensuring adequate resources for effective policing, etc”, he said.