Bill for state police passes second reading in House of Reps

A significant legislative step towards addressing Nigeria’s enduring security challenges was taken yesterday as a bill aimed at establishing state police forces passed the second reading in the House of Representatives. Sponsored by Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu along with 14 other lawmakers, the bill proposes crucial amendments to the 1999 Constitution to facilitate the creation of state-level law enforcement agencies.

Titled “A Bill for an Act to Alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Provide for the Establishment of State Police and Related Matters (HB. 617),” this legislative effort comes in the wake of President Bola Tinubu and state governors expressing support for state police as a viable solution to the nation’s security woes.

The bill, which has been in the public domain since the Seventh Assembly but has seen previous versions fail, includes amendments to several sections of the 1999 Constitution. Specifically, it proposes changes to Sections 34, 35, 39, 42, 84, 89, and 129, as well as Sections 153, 197, 214, 215, and 216, with the aim of establishing a dual police system comprising both federal and state forces.

A key provision within the bill seeks to modify Section 214 of the Constitution, outlining the framework for the coexistence of federal and state police forces. It reads, “The National Assembly shall by an Act, prescribe for the structure, organization, administration, and powers of the Federal Police and provide the framework and guidelines for the establishment of State Police.”

This move is seen as a significant step towards decentralizing policing in Nigeria, offering states the autonomy to address their unique security challenges more effectively. The bill’s progression to the second reading marks a pivotal point in Nigeria’s legislative efforts to reform its security infrastructure amid rising concerns over crime and insurgency across the country.

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