• Sunday, April 14, 2024
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BusinessDay

Bill to establish state police scales second reading

Reps demand full implementation of extant disability act

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill for a second reading, aiming to amend the 1999 constitution to pave the way for the establishment of state police.

Sponsored by Benjamin Kalu, the deputy speaker of the House, and supported by 14 other members, the bill proposes a crucial change – the transfer of the term “police” from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list.

This development, though met with apprehension by some lawmakers expressing concerns about potential misuse by state governors, marks a step in the ongoing Constitution Review process.

The bill has now been referred to the House Committee on Constitution Review for further consideration.

During the debate on the bill, Tolani Shagaya (APC, Kwara) emphasized that introducing state police would restore the essence of true federalism. He argued that decentralizing policing powers would empower states to address security challenges more effectively, aligning law enforcement with the unique needs of individual communities.

Shagaya pointed out that, in practice, state police already exist in various forms across the country, citing examples such as Amotekun and Neighborhood Watch. The bill seeks to formalize and provide legal backing to these entities, allowing them to operate within the framework of the law.

Ahmed Jaha (APC, Borno), while supporting the bill, highlighted the success of the Civilian Joint Task Force in Borno state in countering Boko Haram. Jaha asserted that involving locals in policing would facilitate intelligence gathering and argued against the military’s involvement in internal security, attributing it to the failure of existing measures.