The Senate has called for the decentralisation of the Nigeria Police Force into 13 zonal commands, each with “operational and budgetary powers.”
The lawmakers also urged state assemblies to make necessary laws to legalise community policing to be established at the local government level while state governors should fund the community policing from grants appropriated to each local government.
These were part of the recommendations of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Nigeria Security Challenges which was considered and adopted during plenary on Tuesday.
The Senate had on January 29 set up the 17-man committee headed by the Senate Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya, to investigate the rising cases of insecurity across Nigeria.
The lawmakers had dedicated the whole of that day to discussing the issue. They had also called for the sack of service chiefs.
There have been reports of insecurity across the nation carried out by armed groups and individuals. These include resurgent Boko Haram attacks in the North-east and increased cases of killings and kidnappings across the country.
Top among the recommendations made by the committee and approved by the Senate is urging the executive to direct the Ministry of Police Affairs and the Inspector-General of Police to “decentralize the police command structure with operational and budgetary powers” vested in the following zonal commands as follows:
c. Kaduna/ Niger/ FCT
k. Rivers/Akwa-Ibom/Cross Rivers
The Senate called on the federal government to direct the Ministry of Police affairs and the Inspector-General of Police to immediately implement the Community Policing Strategy involving local stakeholders at the grassroots, including traditional rulers and local notable personalities with a view to addressing local security challenges.
The federal government was also urged to financially support the community policing initiative with an annual grant.
The lawmakers also urged the Federal Government to set up Zonal Security Advisory Committees at each Zonal Commands proposed above to advise on the security challenges facing each zone. The proposed composition of the Zonal Advisory Council should include:
a. Governors in the Zone (to preside on rotational basis);
b. Zonal AIG of Police;
c. State Commissioners of Police in the Zone;
d. State Directors of the Department of State Security Service;
e. Zonal Immigration Officers;
f. Zonal Customs Officers;
g. Representative of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps in the Zone;
h. Representative of the Nigeria Correctional Service in the Zone;
i. Chairmen of State Traditional Rulers Council in the Zone
j. Faith-based Leaders in the Zone;
k. Civil Society Representatives in the Zone;
l. Representative of Senators from the Zone;
m. Representative of Members of House of Representatives from the Zone;
n. Representatives of Business Community and Labour in the Zone; and
o. Any Person or persons deemed to be useful and relevant, taking into account the socio-cultural peculiarities of the zone.
Recommendations were also made for the expansion of the State Security Council and constitution of Area Command, Local Government and Ward Level Advisory Councils.
The Senate further resolved that the following laws are to be amended immediately:
a. The Armed Forces Act CAP A20 LFN 2004;
b. National Security Agencies Act, LFN 2004;
c. Police Act CAP P19, LFN 2004;
d. Immigration Act, CAP P1 LFN 2004;
e. Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (Establishment) Act NO 2, 2003 and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense (Amendment) Act No, 6. 2007;
f. Customs and Excise Management Act CAP C45 LFN 2004;
g. Nigerian Communications Commission Act CAP N94 LFN, 2004;
h. The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) Act, No 23, 2007; and
i. Review of the Evidence Act in the Judicial Administration.