Sometime ago, I wrote about why we needed to establish State Police in Nigeria and empower local security agencies here. The advantages will be of course immense including employment for the teeming youths, safer neighbourhoods and superior policing infrastructure. My voice is definitely not the first and won’t be the last in support of this initiative and I am glad we are moving one step closer as a nation to achieving this goal.
At the House of Representative on the 27th of September, 2016, the Bill which seeks to alter the 1999 Constitution of the Federation, to provide for the establishment of State Police and to ensure effective community policing in Nigeria, standing in the name of Hon. Awoleye Abiodun Dada passed through its second reading and was accordingly referred to the Ad hoc Committee on Constitutional review for further legislative action.
Section 214 of the 1999 Constitution, provides that there shall be a police force for Nigeria, which shall be called the Nigeria Police and, subject to the provisions of this section no other police force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof. In order therefore to establish State Police in Nigeria, this provision of the Constitution must be amended. It is hoped that the Bill becomes law in the shortest possible time.
The Nigerian Police is regulated by the Police Act, Cap.P19, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. Section 10 of that Act provides that for public safety and public order The President may give to the Inspector-General such directions with respect to the maintaining and security of public safety and public order as he may consider necessary, and the Inspector-General shall comply with those directions or cause them to be complied with.
I believe the amendment when passed will further lead to the State House of Assemblies passing their respective Police Laws establishing the police in each state and enumerating their duties, powers and administration. Most likely, the law will also empower State Governors in regard to the security of their states as also provided for in Section 10 of the Police Act. Also, the Police Act may be further amended to properly outline the respective legal jurisdiction of the Federal and State Police.
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