Senate Calls for Decentralisation of Nigeria Police

  • Wants states assembly to legalise community policing

Deji Elumoye and Chuks Okocha in Abuja

As part of measures to reposition the nation’s security apparatus and ensure its efficiency, the Senate on Tuesday clamoured for the de-centralization of the Nigeria Police.

The upper legislative chamber also called on the 36 state Houses of Assembly to pass laws that would legalise community policing in their respective states.

The Senate, in resolving to adopt the recommendations of its Ad hoc Committee on Nigerian Security Challenges headed by Senator Yahaya Abdullahi at plenary, called for the expansion of the State Security Council and constitution of Area Command, Local Government and Ward Level Advisory Councils.

These were the high points of the recommendations of the Senate Ad hoc Committee on the urgent need to restructure, review and re-organise the current security architecture which was considered and approved in the Senate plenary Tuesday.

The committee set up on January 29, 2020, in its report approved by the Senate at plenary, made wide ranging recommendations which were also approved by the Senate.

The Senate, therefore, urged the executive to direct the Ministry of Police Affairs and the Inspector General of Police (IG) to “decentralize the police command structure with operational and budgetary powers” vested in the 11 zonal commands as follows; Kano/Jigawa/Kastina, Sokoto/Zamfara/Kebbi, Kaduna/Niger/FCT, Ekiti/Kwara/Kogi, Benue/Plateau/Nassarawa, Bauchi/Yobe/Borno and Adamawa/Taraba/Gombe

Other commands are Lagos/Ogun, Oyo/Osun/Ondo, Edo/Delta/Bayelsa, Rivers/Akwa-Ibom/Cross Rivers, Imo/Abia and Anambra/Enugu/Ebonyi.

The Senate also urged the federal government to set up Zonal Security Advisory Committees at each Zonal Commands to advise on the security challenges facing each zone.

The proposed composition of the Zonal Advisory Councils include governors in the zone (to preside on rotational basis), Zonal AIG of Police, state Commissioners of Police in the Zone, state Directors of the Department of State Security Service; Zonal Immigration Officers; Zonal Customs Officers; representative of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps in the Zone and representative of the Nigeria Correctional Service in the Zone.

Others are chairmen of state Traditional Rulers Council in the zone, faith-based leaders in the zone; Civil Society representatives in the zone, representative of senators from the zone, representative of members of House of Representatives from the zone, representatives of business community and labour in the zone; and any person or persons deemed to be useful and relevant, taking into account the socio-cultural peculiarities of the zone.

Recommendations were also made for the expansion of the State Security Council and constitution of Area Command, Local Government and Ward Level Advisory Councils.

The Senate urged the federal government to direct the Ministry of Police Affairs and the IG to immediately implement the Community Policing Strategy involving local stakeholders at the grassroots including traditional rulers and local notable personalities with a view to addressing local security challenges.

It also called on the state Houses of Assembly to make necessary laws to legalize community policing to be established at the local government level and that the state governors should fund the community policing from grants appropriated to each local government.

The federal government is also urged to financially support the community policing initiative with an annual grant.

The Senate resolved that the following laws are to be amended immediately.

They include: The Armed Forces Act CAP A20 LFN 2004; National Security Agencies Act, LFN 2004; Police Act CAP P19, LFN 2004; Immigration Act, CAP P1 LFN 2004; Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (Establishment) Act No 2, 2003.

Others are the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence (Amendment) Act No, 6. 2007; Customs and Excise Management Act CAP C45 LFN 2004; Nigerian Communications Commission Act CAP N94 LFN, 2004; the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) Act, No 23, 2007; and Review of the Evidence Act in the Judicial Administration.