Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate, yesterday, passed a radical police reform bill. In the bill, it recommended a five-year statutory tenure for any police officer appointed as the Inspector-General of Police (IGP).
According to the bill, appointment of such an officer as IGP would also be subjected to confirmation of the senate, as it is for all service chiefs, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), ministers, ambassadors, heads of statutory commissions and agencies.
The passage of the bill by the senate was sequel to a report presented by the chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Tijjani Kaura.
Under clause 7 of the bill, which makes provisions and procedures for appointment and removal of IGP, the bill in Clause 7(4b) states that the Nigeria Police Council (NPC) shall nominate three applicants from among the pool of applicants for the position of IGP to the president for appointment.
Clause 7(4c) of the bill states that the president shall appoint the IGP from recommended applicants subject to the confirmation by the senate.
However, for removal of any IGP, clause 7(7c) of the bill empowers the NPC to make recommendation to that effect to the president of the country without senate’s approval.
The NPC, as stated in clause 6(2) of the bill as the highest policy making body in matters relating to the Police Force, shall consist of the President as the chairman, the governor of each state of the federation, the chairman of the Police Service Commission and the Inspector – General of Police.
The senate, in providing for a five- year single tenure for any IGP appointed, stated that the tenure of such an officer is statutory not withstanding his or her retirement age.
The name, Nigeria Police (NPF), is also retained in the bill since, according to the committee, ‘Force’ is captured as part of the name of the crime fighting agency in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While two-year jail term or N5 million fine is stipulated as punishment for any impersonator as policeman or police officer, internal disciplinary mechanism is recommended for any police officer who brutalises or kills an innocent citizen .
Addressing newsmen after the passage of the bill, Kaura said the bill, containing 131 clauses, will change the face of the police in the country from what it is presently to people- friendly one if eventually signed into law by the president.
“All the age long draconian laws in the Police Act of 1943 have been removed to make the police people- friendly, efficient and more effective in crime detection and security service delivery.
“Required constant trainings and welfare packages for men and officers of the Nigeria Police have been recommended for in the bill,” he said.
He added that in the area of welfare packages for operatives of the NPF, provisions of the Police Trust Fund Bill passed last week by the senate, would ensure their implementation.
“In the Police Trust Fund Bill, provisions like .05% from Nigeria’s gross income, 005% all profits made by companies in Nigeria etc, would go a long way in helping government to fund the police very adequately for improved security services to Nigerians,” he explained.