By Angela Atabo
Sen. Bala Na’Allah, the Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate on Monday said the nation was operating an obsolete Nigeria Police law, which had been in existence since 1943.
Na’Allah said this at a dialogue session with the National Assembly and Stakeholders on Police Reform and Police Bill organised by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) in Abuja.
He said that was why he decided to sponsor the Police Reform Bill to make the police to be abreast with global best practice.
He said that the bill had passed second reading and was currently at the committee level and hopefully, public hearing would be conducted, then senate would consider the report within the next 30 days.
“The Nigeria police force is always critisised for not delivering on their responsibility; as a party that promised to leave Nigeria more secured than it met it, we decided to initiate this reform.
“We are not too comfortable with the situation where only the few get good security while the larger population is left at their own peril.
“So we decided that let us look at what happens around the world and check what is wrong with our own system.
“We discovered that the structure of the Nigerian police will never ever give it the kind of efficiency and effectiveness that it requires to be able to secure the population of Nigeria .’’
Na’Allah said that was the reason for the reforms to bring sufficient funding, and localise the operation of the police in such a manner that every community would be secured based on international best practice.
He said that the reform when passed would enhance the coverage of the police to the grassroots and enable them carry out their duties without boundaries.
“If you are travelling on the road, and you are robbed at the border between one police station and another, the police will proudly tell you that it is not under their jurisdiction.
“Yet we have one Nigerian police, so how can it be that when something is happening somebody will say it is not under our jurisdiction? That is not done anywhere in the civilised world,’’he said.
Na’Allah said that the police reform would ensure that every citizen in need of help got it and there would no more be the issue of bringing police report before treating gunshot patients.
He said that an elaborate provision was being made including constituting a police committee to receive complaints from the public and deal with it decisively.
Mr Lawal Abubakar, the Chairman House Committee on Police Affairs, said that the bill was going for public hearing, adding that it would change the narrative of the activities of the police.
Abubakar called for the input of citizens and the police to enrich the reform process and produce a bill that would stand the taste of time to face the contemporary Nigerian challenges.
The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, who was represented by CP Adat Ududo, CP Admin, Research and Planning Department commended National Assembly for the reform.
Idris advised that the issue of funding and manpower should be taken into consideration.
Mr Clement Nwankwo, the Executive Director, PLAC said that the event was organised to essentially to look at the bill of the reform of the police.
Nwankwo said that Nigeria was operating a 1943 law guiding the operations and the work of the police thus the reason for the review, especially in the light of new circumstances.
“Operating a Nigerian police with 1943 law is certainly unacceptable so we need to bring the legal framework guiding the creation operation and functions of the police in the modern times.
“This will be the first time that the 1943 law will be considered for a reform so certainly it is important for us to get the police law reformed.
“We hope that this is the huge opportunity everybody takes advantage of to ensure that we bring our law into conformity with modern times.’’
Nwankwo said that the law when passed, would create a well funded police that would be accountability to ensure that police respect human lives among other things.