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Bill to establish State Police Passes Second Reading at reps

The House of Representatives has passed the bill seeking the creation of state police for second reading. The Bill titled “A Bill for an Act…

The House of Representatives has passed the bill seeking the creation of state police for second reading.

The Bill titled “A Bill for an Act to Alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Provide for Establishment of State Police and for Related Matters (HB.617) was sponsored by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Okezie Kalu and 14 others.

It was passed for second reading at the Plenary on Tuesday after intense debate.

In his lead debate, one of the co-sponsors, Rep. Tolani Shagaya, said the bill was sponsored as a necessary response to several calls for a decentralised and community-oriented approach to law enforcement.

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He said, “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.

“In recent times, our collective security has been greatly challenged. Nigeria, a federation of 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, with 774 LGAs, over 250 ethnic nationalities, more than 200 million citizens and a vast terrain spanning over 920,000 square kilometres, still sadly operates a single centralised police system that employs less than 400,000 police officers and men. There is no gainsaying that the nation’s security architecture is under immense pressure and always overwhelmed”.

He informed that, the bill comprises of 18 clauses that seek to alter Sections 34, 35, 39, 42, 84, 89 and 129 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Altered).

He added, “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; 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; the introduction of a comprehensive framework to ensure cohesion as well as accountability and uniform standards between the Federal Police and State Police;

“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”.

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