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Police Act, first step towards effective policing, says Gbajabiamila

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From Tony Akowe, Abuja

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has applauded the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign into law the Nigeria Police Act passed by the National Assembly.

In a tweet on his official twitter handle, the Speaker said the Police Act was the first step towards enhancing effective policing in the country, adding that the House would continue to monitor the implementation of the law.

The bill was sponsored by a member of the House from Plateau State, Rep. Yusuf Ahmed Gagdi.

The Speaker said: “on the 2nd July 2020, the 9th House of Representatives passed the Police Act, 2020. The Act seeks to provide for an efficient police service that will ensure accountability and transparency, the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and ensure cooperation and partnerships between the police and communities in maintaining peace and combating crime.

“The Act is the first step of a broader action towards wholesale reform of the Nigerian policing and national security infrastructure. The House of Representatives will continue to review the Act in its implementation to identify additional ways to improve our policing so that the government can live up to its primary responsibility of protecting the lives and property of all Nigerians.”

Meanwhile, sponsor of the Police Act, Rep. Yusuf Gagdi said signing Act into law by President Buhari would promote intense security in the country, adding that by signing the bill into law, the President has demonstrated his resolve to promote security of lives and property in the country and ensure that people orient d policies are put in place.

The lawmakers said: “I want to commend Mr. President for this giant stride as this is coming at a time when the country is facing serious security challenges.

“This for me is a step in the right direction that will address the challenges of structuring, appointments, promotions, discipline, postings, living conditions, pension and retirement benefits of the Nigeria Police Force as identified in the Principal Act.”

According to him, the Bill was necessitated by the alarming spate of insecurity and criminality in the country whose negative effects on the economy and socio-political development of Nigeria is well documented.

He said: “Mr. President has shown that he has the interest of the people at heart by ensuring that this bill is signed to address these issues.

“The Act repeals the Police Act Cap. P19. Laws of the Federation, 2004, and provides for a more effective and well organized Police Force, driven by the principles of transparency and accountability in its operations and management of its resources.”

He said that the new bill seeks to provide a framework for the Nigeria Police Service; ensure cooperation and partnership between the Police and communities in maintaining peace and combating insecurity in Nigeria.

He stressed that the 2019 edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), placed Nigeria among the five least policed countries with Nigeria ranked 148th among 163 Independents for the second year in the row, having attained the same unenviable position in 2018.

He said further that this makes: “provision of specific objectives that allows for a more efficient and effective police service, ensuring that the fundamental human rights of persons in police custody are protected, reviews the mode of appointment, removal, and tenure of the Inspector General Police (IGP);Defining the limit of powers and functions of the IGP.

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“It also Increases the number of persons responsible for the assignment and deployment of Commissioners of Police (CPs) to various States, establishing Community Police Forums and Boards by CPs of each State; and prohibiting gender discrimination in the Nigerian Police Force.”

The law was first introduced to the  8th Assembly but failed to scale through following controversies surrounding the provisions on appointment, tenure, and dismissal of the IGP.

Among others, the act also establishes an appropriate funding framework for the Police in line with what is obtainable in other Federal Government key institutions, enhances professionalism in the Force through increased training opportunities, and creates an enduring cooperation and partnership between the Police Force and communities in maintaining peace and combating crimes nationwide.

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