A bill to amend the Police Act 2004 and prescribe a four-year tenure for the Inspector General of Police (IGP) has been read for the third time and passed by the Senate.
According to the bill titled “Police Act CAP P19 LFN 2004 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2020”, the introduction of the tenure for IGP is to give stability to the office of the Inspector-General of Police.
It proposes that the appointment and removal from office of the police boss would henceforth be based on the advice of the Police Council.
It also changes the name of “Nigeria Police” to Nigeria Police Force” as presently in use in view of the failed constitutional attempt to amend the name.
The passage of the bill comes amidst clamour for a clearly stated period of service for IGPs. Currently, IGPs stay in office at the discretion of the president and have no tenure security. In some cases, presidents have unlawfully extended the tenures of police chiefs.
One of such is the immediate past IGP, Ibrahim Idris, whose tenure, although not announced officially, was extended despite being due for retirement having spent 35 years of service.
The passage of the bill was sequel to the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs, presented by the chairman, Haliru Jika.
According to the report, the committee recommended that the tenure of office of the Inspector-General of Police should be a single 4-year term which will make for a secured tenure.
It also recommended that the appointment and removal of the IGP which is in line with section 215 of the 1999 constitution (as amended), should be retained, as any proposal contrary to this provision will require constitution alteration for it to be viable.
The panel proposed that community policing be strengthened and that it should be made binding on the lGP to adhere to policing plans.
“The national policing plan should be made with inputs from the Police Force Headquarters and all the various police formations nationwide before the end at each financial year, setting out priorities, objectives, cast implications and expected outcomes of Policing fur the next succeeding financial year in order to change budgeting from a top-down approach to a bottom-up approach.”
Other recommendations include;
“That the name “Nigeria Police” proposed in the draft Bill should be changed to ‘Nigeria Police Force” as presently in use in view of the failed constitution alteration attempt to amend the name and;
“That the police abide and enforce certain constitutional provisions, particularly fundamental rights of persons in Police custody under chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and other international instruments on Human rights tn which Nigeria is a signatory (including of provisions that reiterate the importance of fundamental human rights and advocating for their observance).”
All the recommendations were adopted after the Senate resolved into Committee of the Whole to consider the report.
The bill will be transmitted to the House of Representatives for concurrence. It would, thereafter, be sent to the president for assent.