House debates bill to reduce president’s control of police

The Senate on Wednesday began consideration of a bill seeking to amend the Police Act, 2020, to reduce the Nigerian president’s control of the police force.

The bill, which passed its first reading, came in the heat of many Nigerians’ clamour, including governors, to create state police.

Sponsored by Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru, the bill seeks to establish Zonal Security Advisory Council and State Security Advisory Council to advise on the security challenges facing each zone or state, respectively.

If passed, the bill will give operational and budgetary powers to zonal commands.

“The bill seeks, among others, to amend the Police Act, 2020 toward the decentralisation of the police command structure with operational and budgetary powers vested in the zonal offices that are being sought to be created by the bill,” Mr Bashir.

He added, “The insertion of a new ‘Section’ 6(7)’ which provides for the structure of the Nigeria Police Force as follows: Section 6(7) Structure of the Nigeria Police Force. There is established for the Nigeria Police Force the following: (a)Force Headquarters, (b) Zonal Headquarters, (c)State Commands, (d) Training Institutes, (e)Area Commands, (f) Divisional Police Headquarters and (g) Police Station.”

Governor Kayode Fayemi on Tuesday had renewed his call for the decentralisation of the police.

Mr Fayemi, who spoke during an Arise TV broadcast on proposed that some items be taken off the exclusive list of the constitution and devolved to the state and local authorities, adding that Nigeria is the only country with a unitary policing system.

His call for police decentralisation is not a strange clamour amongst state governors. Governors Seyi Makinde and Rotimi Akeredou had also clamoured for state police.

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