The Senate at its plenary session of Thursday, 13 February 2020 passed a Bill seeking to repeal and re-enact the Police Act, 2004, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) for second reading.
The Bill which is sponsored by Sen. Halliru Jika (APC: Bauchi) seeks to provide a framework for the Police Service; ensure cooperation and partnership between the Police and communities in maintaining peace and combatting insecurity in Nigeria.
Leading the debate on the Bill, Sen. Jika informed lawmakers that the Bill was intended to address the challenges of structuring, appointments, promotions, discipline, postings, living conditions, pension and retirement benefits of the Nigeria Police Force as identified in the Principal Act.
In his submissions, Sen. Jika noted the objectives of the Bill to include:
- Provision of specific objectives that allows for a more efficient and effective Police service;
- Ensuring that the fundamental human rights of persons in police custody are protected;
- Proposing amendments in respect to the Appointment, Removal, and Tenure of the Inspector General Police (IGP);
- Defining the limit of powers and functions of the IGP;
- Increasing the number of persons responsible for the assignment and deployment of Commissioners of Police (CPs) to various States.
- Establishing Community Police Forums and Boards by CPs of each State; and
- Prohibiting gender discrimination in the Nigerian Police Force.
Lastly, he drew the attention of the Senate to a prior attempt by the 8th Assembly to pass the Bill which was unsuccessful despite having made significant progress. Sen. Bala Ibn Na’allah (APC: Kebbi) corroborated this by stating that he had sponsored a similar bill in the 8th Assembly which was passed by the Senate but failed in the House of Representatives due to controversies surrounding the provisions on appointment, tenure, and dismissal of the IGP. Other than that, he noted the bill is non-contentious and commendable.
The Bill which was unanimously adopted by lawmakers has been referred to the Committee on Police Affairs for further legislative scrutiny who are expected to report back within 4 weeks.