The House of Representatives has passed for second reading a bill seeking the creation of state police.
The bill, sponsored by Luke Onofiok (PDP, Akwa-Ibom), was considered by the House and passed for second reading on Tuesday during plenary.
The bill seeks to amend the 1999 constitution and make police a concurrent issue in the constitution, which will allow states to create and maintain police.
Leading the debate on the bill, Mr Onofiok said the bill seeks to move “the item pertaining to police and government security services to the concurrent list so that both the federal and state government can both legislate on. I, therefore, solicit your kind co-operation in supporting the Bill for a second reading and subsequent passage into law.”
“This Bill seeks to excise Item 45 (Police and other government security services) from the Exclusive Legislative List and place same on the Concurrent Legislative List to give allowance for different state governments to legislate on security matters, which will effectively give state governments powers to establish state police.”
The bill is proposing the amendment of section 197 (1) of the constitution and creating a state police council and state police service commission.
Also, the bill is proposing to delete item 45 in the second schedule (Exclusive list) and insert police in the concurrent list.
Speaking in favour of the bill, the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), said most states now have security outfits, but lacking the needed legal backing to investigate and prosecute offenders.
He said, “Ordinarily, the issue of state police should have been done with because it is needed. The exclusive list needs to shed weight. There is no state in this country that does not have a security outfit. They are lacking the powers to bear arms, they are lacking the powers to arrest and prosecute. If 13 schools are closed in Kaduna, it is not a joke. I believe we need to address it. We are hurting. Nothing stops our representative from meeting with the governors.”
Following the debate, the motion was put to vote by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the “ayes” had it.
The bill was referred to the special committee on review of the 1999 constitution.
Southern governors call for state police
Southern governors, under the aegis of Southern Governors Forum, on Monday, reemphasised the need for state police at a meeting in Lagos.
The governors, in a communique issued after the meeting, resolved that if for any reason security institutions need to undertake an operation in any state, the Chief Security Officer of the state must be duly informed.
The forum frowned at selective criminal administration of justice and resolved that arrests should be made within the ambit of the law and fundamental human rights.
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