Bill on community policing scales second reading in House of Reps

Nigerian Police officers on duty
Nigerian Police officers on duty

A bill seeking an amendment to the Nigerian Constitution to give room for community policing passed second reading in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The same constitutional amendment bill reached the same stage in the Senate a fortnight ago.

The amendment sought by the bill introduced by Yusuf Gagdi (APC, Plateau) is similar to that read in the upper chamber by Halliru Jika (APC, Bauchi).

In his lead debate, Mr Gagdi said the existing law guiding the police force is still the same as it was enacted in 1943. Therefore, he said the law is weak in tackling current security challenges.

“Current times demand an amendment that is more effective to tackle the realities of police preparedness in gathering intelligence and tackling banditry and kidnapping,” he said.

Mr Yagdi said the bill seeks to repeal the Police Act of 2004 and enact the Nigeria Police Bill. This he said he hopes would provide a framework that would foster a partnership between the police and host communities.

Similar to the Senate version, too, Mr Gadgi added that the bill aims to increase the tenure of the inspector-general of police to five years. He said this was informed by the short span of the tenures of IGPs since 1999.

Ten IGPs, averaging an IGP in every two years since the dawn of democracy is not good for the force, he said  — a belief shared by his Senate counterpart. Indeed, Nigeria has had eleven IGPs since 1999.

Community policing has been much in discussion in the country. South-west governors recently set up a regional security outfit, Amotekun, to combat rising crimes in their states.

Likewise, south-east governors endorsed a new community policing model of the Nigeria Police for more effective security management in the zone.

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