From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
A Bill for an Act to provide for state police in Nigeria, yesterday, scaled the second reading at the House of Representatives.
Sponsored by Onofiok Luke, PDP-Akwa-Ibom, the bill seeks to remove the police from exclusive list to concurrent list in a bid to boost security of lives and property in the country.
Luke said the bill would help reduce crime at the grassroots as state police would complement the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies in crime control. He said state police had become necessary following the upsurge in crime across states, which appeared to have overwhelmed the federal police.
“We have had some security challenges and some states have had to set up state security apparatus to fill in the gap,” he said justifying the need for a law on state police.
Tobi Ukechukwu,PDP-Enugu, in his contribution, said the creation of state police was germane to the survival of the country. He said the bill was a patriotic move by the sponsor, stressing that the exclusive list needed to shed weight to allow for improved security in the country.
“There is no state that does not run its own vigilance group as at now, but they are lacking the power to bear arms, arrest and prosecute. We cannot be pretending that everything is okay,” he said.
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, put the bill to a voice vote and it was unanimously adopted and referred to the House Ad Hoc Committee on the review of 1999 Constitution.
The House also resolved to probe recent attacks on offices of the Independent National Electronic Commission (INEC) in the country.
It mandated its Committees on Electoral Matters and Interior to undertake the investigation and report back to it within four weeks for further legislative actions.
The joint committee was also mandated to investigate fire outbreaks in some INEC offices and ascertain the level of compliance to fire safety regulations at offices of the electoral body nationwide.
The House also urged the Federal Government to provide adequate security for INEC offices. This followed the adoption of a motion by Dachung Bagos on the need to prevent further attacks on INEC offices across the country.
The lawmaker in his motion decried recent attacks on INEC offices. .
He said about 19 INEC offices were razed by hoodlums with states mostly affected being Akwa Ibom, Abia, Anambra, Imo, Borno, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kano, Ondo, Plateau, Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Dachung expressed the concern that if nothing was done to forestall future attacks, the electoral commission might not have enough offices to oversee the 2023 poll, as well as other off-season elections.