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State police bill scales second reading at HoR

A bill seeking to amend the 1999 constitution and allow the establishment of state police by the 36 states in the federation has passed the second reading at the House of Representatives (HoR).

NASS
NASS

Abuja, Nigeria

A bill seeking to amend the 1999 constitution and allow the establishment of state police by the 36 states in the federation has passed the second reading at the House of Representatives (HoR).

The bill was debated on Tuesday and passed for the second reading at the lower chamber of the National Assembly.

Ben Kalu, deputy speaker of HoR and 14 other lawmakers sponsored the bill.

The bill comprises 18 clauses intending to amend 14 sections of the constitution, notably to transfer police from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list—permitting both state and federal governments to establish a police force for internal security.

Muktar Shagaya who presented the bill on behalf of the co-sponsors stated that state police is not only a matter of federalism but an exigency of time calling for the creation of state police.

“This bill emerges as a necessary response to several calls for a decentralised and community-oriented approach to law enforcement. It seeks to navigate the complex landscape of security challenges by empowering our states with the means to address issues unique to their localities.

“This proposed alteration represents not just a legal adjustment to our grund norm, but a visionary leap towards a safer, more secure, and harmonious Nigeria,” he said.

HoR chief whip, Bello Kumo said the prolonged military rule in the country relegated the police to the background.

“The federal government has not been able to adequately fund the police. Why have we not been able to adequately recruit personnel?” he said.

However, in his support for the bill, the lawmaker expressed fear, stating that the probability of governors abusing police in their states is real.

Other members of the house who spoke on the bill threw their weight behind the bill; but, Sada Soli and Obinna Aguocha spoke against the bill.

According to Soli, the possibility of abuse by governors and their ability to finance the police in their states.

Aguocha while arguing against the bill, said the creation of state police would hinder the free flow of trade.

The motion was subsequently put to a voice vote and passed. It was, therefore, referred to the Committee on Constitution Review.

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