Senate passes Police Reform Bill

Senate passes Police Reform Bill
United Bank for Africa

The Senate has passed the Police Reform Bill.

This followed the presentation of a report by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Sen. Tijjani Kaura, and clause-by-clause consideration of the bill.

The bill which seeks to reposition the Nigeria Police Force(NPF) recommends a five year statutory tenure for any Police officer appointed as the Inspector-General of Police (IG).

The bill states that the tenure of such an office is statutory not withstanding the IGP’s retirement age.

The bill seeks to ensure that such appointment is subjected to confirmation of the senate as it applies to all service chiefs, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), ministers, ambassadors, heads of statutory commissions and agencies .

It provides that the Nigeria Police Council shall nominate three applicants from among the pool of applicants for the position of IG to the President for appointment.

The bill provides internal disciplinary mechanism for any Police officer who brutalises or kills an innocent citizen.

Furthermore, two-year jail term or N5 million fine is stipulated as punishment for any impersonator as Policeman or Police officer.

Equally, the name “Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is retained in the bill since ‘Force’ is captured in the 1999 Constitution.

A bill for an act to repeal the police Act, 2004 and to enact the Nigeria police Act 2019 to provide for the framework of the police service and ensure cooperation and partnership between the police and the communities in maintaining peace and combating crime

The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, thanked all those that contributed to the passage of the bill.

He said, ”as we all know, this law was enacted in 1943 and nothing has been done to reform the Police.This will go a long way in showing that we are a listening senate.

“There is nothing better we can do in honour of those who lost their lives due to the fact that the laws are not in line with international standard practice, for protection of the people at all times.

“This is a very great achievement for us to continue to provide better security for our people and to ensure that the police officers have better condition of service and are more productive,” he said.

Meanwhile, addressing newsmen after passage of the bill, Kaura said the bill with 131 clauses, would change the face of the Police to a people friendly one if signed into law by the President.

He stressed that the bill sought to come up with a police law that was more responsive to the needs of the general public and to promote justice fairness, equity and accountability.

He added that the bill was meant to uphold and safeguard the inalienable rights of all Nigerians.

”All the age long draconian laws in the Police Act of 1943 have been removed to make the Police people friendly, efficient and more effective in crime detection and security service delivery .

“Constant training and better welfare packages for men and officers of the Nigerian Police are also recommended in the bill,” Kaura said.

He said the Police Trust Fund Bill that had already been passed by the Senate would ensure implementation of better welfare in the force.

“In the Police Trust Fund Bill, provisions like .05 per cent from Nigeria’s gross income, .005 per cent of all profits made by companies in Nigeria etc, will go a long way in helping government to fund the Police adequately for improved security,” he said.