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Bill on Community Policing, reforms scales second reading at Senate

The Senate on Thursday said it was high time the Nigeria Police Force got restructured to enhance effectiveness and end criminality in the country.

Specifically, the Senate wants adequate equipping of Police training institutions and training of personnel of the force.

The demand by the Senate is a sequel to a Bill for an Act to Repeal the Police Act and enact the Nigeria Police Bill, 2019, which scaled Second Reading during plenary.

The bill, among other things, seeks to provide a framework for the Nigeria Police Service to foster efficiency.

Also, the bill seeks to amend the extant Police Act in respect of appointment, removal, and tenure of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP). It sponsored by Senator Haliru Jika.

When finally passed into law, the bill will address the recurrent challenges and deficiencies in structure, appointments, promotions, discipline, postings, training, kitting, weaponry, living condition, pension and retirement benefits within the Police.

Leading the debate,  Jika said “the present Police Act is not only fraught with deficiencies, but strangely, the major organization, duties, and powers of the Nigeria Police Force, as encapsulated in the present Act, have largely remained as set out in the 1943 Police Act.

“It is in recognition of the inherent shortcomings in the extant Police Act and the seemingly intractable challenge of insecurity in our country that has necessitated the proposed repeal of the extant Act and the enactment of a new one in its place, in consonance with the dictates of international best practices and realities of present-day, Nigeria”, Jika said.

Citing a 2019 report by the Global Peace Index (GPI), the lawmaker who Chairs the Committee on Police Affairs, said that Nigeria ranks 148th among 163 independent States and territories.

Meanwhile, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has insisted that the National Assembly will no longer tolerate the gruesome killing of Nigerians by criminals threatening the security of the country.

Lawan said that the “bill should consider the restructuring of the command and structure of the Police. The present structure is not working, the Police Trust Fund is already accruing, the last count I was told there was about N52 billion or so, but it is not about throwing money to the Police. You need to adjust the structure, otherwise, that money will just be a sinking fund.

“So, we should be in a hurry to recruit, to train and retrain. Equipping the police training institutions is supposed to be one vital aspect of getting our security arrangements right, and this is something that we have to do in a hurry, even if it means going for a supplementary budget, so be it,” he said.

“The kind of situation we are in, with the lives that are lost on a daily basis, is something we cannot tolerate, and in fact, we should be on the right side of history,” Lawan added.




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