Nigerians’ quest for community policing received a boost on Thursday as a bill seeking to introduce the system of policing passed second reading in the Senate.
President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, insists that the leadership of the National Assembly will no longer tolerate the unnecessary killing of Nigerians by criminals threatening the security of the country.
Dr. Lawan made this known in his remarks on 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 serviced. He demanded for a complete restructuring of the security architecture of the Nigeria Police Force, equipping of Police training institutions and training of men and officers of the Police Force.
Speaking on the security situation in the country, he said, “We are in a very unusual time. When Nigeria was at war at one stage, there was very rigorous recruitment of soldiers because the situation demanded that.
“I think we are in a similar situation and it is only fair for us as leaders of this country to take this challenge”, the Senate president said.
Dr. Lawan highlighted that the bill must take into consideration the restructuring of the command and structure of the Police because according to him the present structure is not working.
“The Police Trust Fund is already accruing, the last count I was told there was about N52 billion or so, but it is not about throwing money to the Police. You need to adjust the structure, otherwise that money will just be a sinking fund”.
Earlier, sponsor of the bill, Senator Haliru Jika, in his lead debate said the piece of legislation seeks primarily to provide a framework for the Police Service, ensuring cooperation and partnership between the Police and Communities in maintaining peace and combating crime and insecurity in Nigeria.
The bill is expected among other things to address the recurrent challenges and deficiencies in structure, appointments, promotions, discipline, postings, trainings, kitting, weaponry, living condition, pension and retirement benefits.
The bill which also seeks to amend the extant Police Act in respect to the appointment, removal and tenure of the Inspector-General of Police 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.
“ A paradigm shift from the traditional police system to a community-participatory system of policing, uniting ordinary citizens in their respective communities with the police in the prevention, detection and resolving of crimes.” Senator Haliru said.
The lawmakers were unanimous in the condemnation of the spike in killings across Nigeria and called for the speedy consideration and passage of the new Police Bill by the National Assembly.