Bill on State Police Scaled Second Reading: Referred to Constitution Review Committee
A bill sponsored by Senator Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru seeking to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to provide for the establishment of State Police for effective policing in Nigeria passed second reading today at the Senate. The bill also seeks to make provision for the removal of all matters connected with the police and other government security services established by law from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative list
The bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to provide for the amendment of Sections 214 by inserting new sub-sections (3) and (4) to provide for the establishment of State Police by States of Federation. The sub-sections are important as it allows State Houses of Assembly to legislate on matters pertaining to State Police and empowering State Governors to appoint Commissioners of Police in their respective States. The proposed section 214(3) provides that:
There shall be a Police Service for each State of the Federation, which shall be known as the State Police Service. Subject to the Provisions of the Principal Act:
(a) The State Police Service shall be organized and administered in accordance with such laws as may be prescribe by the Law passed by the State House of Assembly;
(b) The members of the State Police Service shall have such powers and duties as may be conferred on them by such Law;
(c) The State House of Assembly may make provisions for branches of a State Police Service forming part of a State Security Structures or for the protection of communities and localities.
The current section 214 (1) of the constitution which the bill seeks to amend reads, “There shall be a police force for Nigeria, which shall be known as the Nigeria Police Force, and subject to the provisions of this section no other police force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof.”
When eventually passed, the amendment will promote true federalism by granting the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly the power to make laws with respect to the creation, formation and control of Police and ensure effective policing in Nigeria, thereby guaranteeing the security of lives and properties in Nigeria.
The bill also seeks to the alteration of item 45 of Part I (Exclusive Legislative List), Second Schedule of the Constitution which deals with matters on which only the National Assembly can legislate. By transferring all matters connected with the police to the Concurrent list, both the Federal and State Governments would have powers to legislate on matters pertaining to the establishment and operation of the police.
After the bill was considered for Second Reading, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan Ph.D, CON referred the bill to the Committee on Constitution Review for further legislative work.