State Police bill passes second reading in the house of reps
The House of Representatives has passed the bill seeking to amend the 1999 Constitution to allow the creation of state police and legalize regional security outfits for second reading.
Recall that the House had earlier on June 9, 2021, approved a bill to amend the 1999 Constitution to recognize security outfits created by states to complement the Nigeria Police Force in the effort to protect lives and property.
According to the Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Onofiok Luke, who sponsored the bill, the creation of state police and other state government security services is to enhance security and preserve lives and properties in Nigeria.
Leading debate on the bill, Luke said, “Many years after independence, Nigeria has continually been beset with insecurity ranging from terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, and domestic violence. Granted that there is no society without crime or manifestation of criminal behaviour, our inability to bring to the barest minimum crime is a scathing indictment on the current security architecture and structure in the country.
“The federal structuring of our security does not encourage community policing or localisation of policing. Recruitment and subsequent deployment of police officers in their local area are one of the major ways of curbing crime. Such officers understand the area, terrain, language, behaviour and attitude of the people he or she is policing.
“Nigeria, a country with over 201 million people, is grossly under policed with about 400, 000 police personnel. This number falls far short of the United Nation’s recommendation of a ratio of 1 per 400 citizens.
“The Constitution envisages Nigeria as a federal state. Granting allowance to state governments to establish police force and other security apparatuses will bring Nigeria into original constitutional contemplation of a federal state.”
The Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, stated that the creation of state police is long overdue with the current security crises across the country.
Okechukwu said, “This bill is germane. About an hour ago, we observed a minute silence for our people; for the citizens of Nigeria who were killed in Kaduna. In addition to that, my colleague, Hon Barde, also moved a motion to ensure the rescue of 140 pupils – children – who were going to school that was taken in Kaduna. We have had situations in this country that ordinarily, this issue of state police should have been addressed a long time ago.
“Good enough, the recurrence with which it appears and comes up in the efforts to alter the Constitution gives strength to the fact that it is needed. As a matter of fact, the Exclusive List needs to shed weight and if it is going to shed weight with regard to making our country more efficient and secure, the better we are for it.
“As a matter of fact, there is no state in this federation that does not run a security outfit. No state! Whether it is Amotekun or Hisbah or Vigilante or Ebube Agu, whichever name you call it, they all run it. But what character do they possess? What ingredients are they lacking? They are lacking the power to ordinarily bear arms and to arrest and prosecute.
“We need to occasion this; we need to bring it to the fore to solve the challenges we are having. We cannot be living and pretending that everything is okay. Nothing is okay. If 13 schools were closed in Kaduna, it is not a joke. We need to address this and address this seriously.”