The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed for second reading a bill seeking to reform the Nigeria Police Force and allow host communities to participate in the appointment of officers and operations of the force.
The bill seeks to make the tenure of an Inspector-General of Police five years, while governors and community leaders will be involved in the deployment of Commissioners of Police.
The bill also seeks to make the Police Service Commission to be charge of appointment to the force to avoid a repeat of the power tussle between the PSC and police hierarchy over the recruitment of 10,000 constables.
The proposal is titled ‘A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Police Act, Cap P19, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, and Enact the Nigeria Police Bill to Provide the Framework for the Nigeria Police Force, Ensure Cooperation and Partnership Between the Police and Host Communities in Maintaining Peace and Combating Crimes.’
Sponsored of the bill, Mr Yusuf Gagdi, said the amendment was to provide a more efficient and effective police services “that is based on the principles of accountability and transparency, as well as the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
According to him, the extant Nigeria Police Act has neither a general nor specific objective.
He said, “Another deviation from the extant Police Act is the amendment proposed in respect of the appointment and removal of the IG. This amendment was the one that became contentious, especially in the view of the 8th House.
“Another amendment has to do with the tenure of office of IG. A five-year tenure was recommended for each IG to address the challenges of non-committal, for the IG to effect meaningful changes.
“For instance, since 1999, there have been 10 IGs. This is an average of two years per IG. Provisions relating to the removal of a serving IG are so crucial, that they have also been inserted in this new bill.
“The new bill has equally proposed to increase the number of persons that have a say in assigning CPs to the different states to include governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory. It stipulates the Police Service Commission as the appointing authority.”
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said parliament will continue to champion the rights of the weak and poor.
Gbajabiamila said being elected by the people, it was incumbent on members of the House to focus on them.
The Speaker stated this at the inauguration of the Nigeria National Group of the Parliamentarians for Global Action chaired by the Chairman, House Committee on Army, Mr Abdulrazak Namdas.