Police Service Commission Reform Bill Passes Second Reading

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By Udora Orizu

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed for second reading a Bill which seeks to aid the ongoing total police reform, to ensure effective policing and that erring officers of the Nigeria police are held accountable for their actions.

The legislation was sequel to the public outcry for the disbandment of the now defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigeria police and a total reform of the police.

The members of the House had on October 7 resolved to work with the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to draft new legislation within 30 days. The draft bill was presented to stakeholders on November 18th for their inputs.

The legislation titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Police Service Commission Act and Enact the Police Service Commission Bill, 2020 to strengthen the Commission to be more Functional in its Operations; and for Related Matters,’ is sponsored by Hon. Yusuf Adamu Gagdi and Hon. Henry Nwawuba.

The Bill among other things is seeking to establish a body to be known as the Police Service Commission (in this Act referred to as “the Commission”), headquartered in FCT and as well creation of state offices to take public complaints and investigate allegations against the police.

Section 6(1)(I) and 7(c) will give Nigerians power to make complaints against erring police officers, and the commission will be empowered to set up panels to investigate policemen and recommend sanctions or prosecution for them.

Also the Bill provides that a person may lay a complaint against police officers, to the nearest state office of the Commission, from where the incident took place or any designated office of the Commission.

The complaint may be made orally, in writing, or by any electronic means and shall contain the nature and particulars of the misconduct, the name of the police officer involved, the force number of the officer involved, date and time estimates of when the incident took place and any other relevant information to aid easy identification of the officer involved.

Leading the debate on its general principles, one of the sponsors, Gagdi stated that the Bill seeks a reform of the Nigeria Police to ensure that the Police Service Commission is well placed to appoint and promote officers, ensure policy formulation for the guidance of officers, employ and train qualified individuals into the police force, sanction erring officers.

He called for the support of Members to ensure the total overhaul of the public image of the Nigerian Police.

In his contribution, Hon. Babajimi Benson said that the Bill adds value to the workings of the Nigerian Police.

He also commended the Speaker of the House, Gbajabiamila for his commitment to seeing a better Nigeria Police that will meet international best standards via solid legislation.

The Bill got the support of majority of the members when put to a voice vote and was referred to the House Committee on Police Affairs.

Also the House passed for second reading a Bill which seeks to authorize the issuance from the Federal Capital Territory Administration’s Statutory Revenue Fund of the Federal Capital Territory Administration account, the total sum of N299,963,491,523.00.

The long title of the Bill which was presented by the House Leader, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa is, ”A Bill for an Act to Authorize the Issue from the Federal Capital Territory Administration’s Statutory Revenue Fund of the Federal Capital Territory Administration Account, the total sum of N299,963,491,523.00 (Two Hundred and Ninety–Nine Billion, Nine Hundred and Sixty–Three Million, Four Hundred and Ninety–One Thousand, Five Hundred and Twenty–Three Naira) only, of which the sum of N74,523,382,813.00 (Seventy–Four Billion, Five Hundred and Twenty–Three Million, Three Hundred and Eighty–Two Thousand, Eight Hundred and Thirteen Naira) only, is for Personnel Costs; and the sum of N61,788,967,930.00 (Sixty–One Billion, Seven Hundred and Eighty–Eight Million, Nine Hundred and Sixty–Seven Thousand; Nine Hundred and Thirty Naira) only, is for overhead costs; while the balance of N163,651,140,779.00 (One Hundred and Sixty–Three Billion, Six Hundred and Fifty–One Million, One Hundred and Forty Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy–Nine Naira) only, is for Capital Projects for the service of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for the Financial Year commencing from 1 January and ending on 31 December, 2021.”

The Bill was voted on, passed for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Federal Capital Territory and Federal Capital Territory Area Councils and auxiliary matters.