By Emeka Ejere
The Senate has received a bill seeking for the establishment of State and community Police in Nigeria.
The bill is sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and 75 other lawmakers.
The bill entitled “Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alteration) Bill, 2018″scaled first reading on Thursday, July 12, 2018.
Ekweremadu expressed optimism that the bill would scale second reading, public hearing, third reading and further transmitted to the President for assent.
The Senate had on July 4, 2018, mandated its constitutional review committee to put in machinery to amend the constitution to allow for the creation of State Police.
Similarly, the Police Reform Bill has scaled second reading at the Senate.
According to Senate President Bukola Saraki, the bill would repeal and re-enact the Police Act of 1943 to meet the current security challenges in the country
The establishment and running of the police force is a preservation of the federal government and is on the Exclusive list.
With the bill, the Senate seeks to remove Policing from the Exclusive List and put in in the concurrent list, thereby allowing state governors to establish and manage a police force within their states.
The decision of the Senate to allow for state policing came as a result of the unending crisis and killings across Nigeria.
The Senate President while welcoming his colleagues from their last break, stated clearly that it was time for the senate to take a decision on the security architecture in Nigeria.
“We have talked about the fact that whether these killings were initial acts of aggression or reprisal attacks, it is clear that either way, it is totally unacceptable and we must condemn it in all totality,” he said.
“Secondly, these are acts of criminality and we should not encourage any other colouration to it, be it religious or otherwise. This is criminality. And as such, we have a role to ensure that we must address this criminality to see how we can fight it.
“We have spoken on many platforms and made suggestions to the Executive on the fact that there is a need for an urgent review of the security architecture of the nation.”
Having made suggestions and listened to security agencies over the killings, Saraki said it was important for the lawmakers to do their own part.
“We as the Senate must come up with our own actions. We do not need to flog the issue. We have told the Executive what to do. We have told them privately and we have told them publicly. However, on our own part, we must decide on what we need to do.”
The senate therefore resolved to amend the Constitution to allow for state policing, while the Deputy President of the Senate promised to present a Bill to that effect.