Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Nigeria Police Force (NPF), wednesday expressed reservation over moves by the Senate to subject the appointment and removal of Inspector General of Police (IGP) to confirmation of the upper legislative chamber.
This is coming just as the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, canvassed for the reduction in the jumbo salaries of Senators and other lawmakers for money to be raised for adequate funding of the police.
The Force represented by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, at a public hearing in Senate Committee Room 231, also kicked against move to reduce serving Deputy Inspectors General of Police ( DIGs) from seven to one as proposed in an amendment bill for enactment of the Police Act , 2018 sponsored by Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (Kebbi South).
Idris, who presented police positions on the draft bill, which has 85 sections and other relevant stakeholders during a public hearing session organised by the Senate Committee on Police Affairs however aligned with proposal for five year tenure for Inspector General of Police ( IGP)
In his submission, the IGP said: “ The proposed bill will help in reforming the Police and reposition it in its key role in administration of justice, “there are a few observations by the Police Force. The confirmation and removal of IGP by the Senate should be expunged from the bill.
“Appointment of the IGP as recommended by the Police Service Commission (PSC) and nominated by the President without Senate confirmation is desirable to Police to avoid politicisation of the whole process”.
On proposal for one DIG as against existing seven DIGs, Idris said it would be counterproductive as unbearable pressures administratively and operationally would be put on IG and the only DIG.
“Presently I have seven DIGs working with me at the Force headquarters. Reducing them to just only one DIG will be retrogressive considering the enormity of administrative and operational responsibilities attached to the office of the IG.”
On his part, the Chairman, PSC, Mr. Musiliu Smith, a retired IG, said the commission agreed totally with majority of the recommendations made in the bill, stressing that, if passed into law and effectively implemented, will improve the police service.
He, however, noted that the Police Affairs Committee could recommend adequate accommodation of officers and men of the Nigeria Police within police vicinity for efficient service delivery.
According to him, more policemen should be accommodated in barracks nationwide while more living quarters should be provided for officers.
“More men should be in Police environment, barracks for the junior ranks and officers quarters for senior officers. This will make them to behave well and be well disciplined Police,” he said.
Oba Akiolu, in his submission, advocated for improved welfare for policemen, saying one of the ways of doing that “ is for the federal lawmakers to drastically cut down their monthly jumbo pay. “
Declaring the public hearing open, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, represented by the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah said the Police in the country should be up and doing in securing lives and properties of the citizenry.
According to him, the 75 year-old colonial laws under which the Police operate needed to be repealed and new laws enacted to put the Force abreast of modern day policing in line with global best practice.
Saraki said the new law, when enacted, will guarantee better performance of Police and adequate protection of citizens’ fundamental rights and privileges under the law just as he advocated a comprehensive review of funding framework for the police force.
Also speaking , the sponsor of the bill, Senator Na’Allah said Nigeria Police, which was in the past regarded as one of the best Police force in the world, has regrettably lost its credibility.
He said the Police force has suffered in the hands of politicians and even the general public.
“ Every attempt to insulate the police as responsible institution has failed. There are so many allegations against the police. Police need to be insulated from politics and politicians”, Na’Allah further said.