Community police bill scales second reading in Senate

A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Police Act and enact the Nigeria Police Bill, 2019 to provide for a framework for the Police Service has scaled second reading in the Senate.

Sponsor of the bill, Senator Haliru Jika (APC, Bauchi), in his lead debate, said the piece of legislation provides for the establishment of Community Police Forums and Boards by the Commissioner of Police of each State that shall consist of representatives of the Police Force and the local Community.

He said it seeks primarily to provide for the framework for the Police Service and ensure cooperation and partnership between the Police and Communities in maintaining peace and combating crime and insecurity in Nigeria.

The senator added that, when passed, the bill will, among other things, address the recurrent challenges and deficiencies in structure, appointments, promotions, discipline, postings, trainings, kitting, weaponry, living condition, pension and retirement benefits.

Citing a 2019 report by the Global Peace Index (GPI), the lawmaker, who Chairs the Committee on Police Affairs, said that Nigeria ranks 148th among 163 independent States and territories.

The bill also seeks to amend the extant Police Act in respect to the appointment, removal and tenure of the Inspector-General of Police.

Jika disclosed that since 1999, Nigeria had 10 Inspector-General of Police, one which made for an average tenure of 2 years in service.

He added that except there is an amendment to the extant Act of the Nigeria Police Force, the new Police Trust Fund Act signed recently into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, may not achieve the level of effectiveness and outcome desired.

Senators in their separate contributions called for the speedy consideration and passage of the new Police Bill by the National Assembly.

The bill which scaled second reading during plenary was referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on Police Affairs for further legislative work.

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