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Bill To Create State Police Scales Second Reading

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House of Representatives has on Tuesday passed for second reading a bill seeking to create state police and other community security agencies such as Amotekun in the Southwest and others.

This bill seeks to excise Item 45 (Police and other government security services) from the Exclusive Legislative List and place same on the Concurrent Legislative List to give vent to the establishment of security outfits by state governments to tackle insecurity at the state and local tiers of government.

The bill seeks to amend the 1999 constitution and make police a concurrent issue in the constitution, which will allow states to create and maintain police.

Sponsor of the Bill, Rep. Luke Onofiok (PDP-Akwa Ibom), while leading the debate during plenary, noted that the federal structuring of security does not encourage community policing or localisation of policing.

He said;

Recruitment and subsequent deployment of police officers in their local area is one of the major ways of curbing crime. Such officers understand the area, terrain, language, behaviour and attitude of the people he or she is policing.

According to Onofiok;

The primary responsibility of every government all over the world is to protect and preserve the lives and properties of its citizens and to maintain law and order.

The principle of social contract is chiefly anchored on this responsibility where the people relinquished and contracted their rights to government for the protection of their lives and properties.

Onofiok, however, said failure on the part of government to keep to this basic responsibility/contractual term portends danger.

He noted;

Many years after independence, Nigeria has continually been beset with insecurity ranging from terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, and domestic violence. Granted that there is no society without crime or manifestation of criminal behaviour, our inability to bring to the barest minimum crime is a scathing indictment on the current security architecture and structure in the country.

On his part, Rep. Tobi Ukechukwu (PDP-Enugu), said the creation of state police was germane to the survival of the country.

The bill was then placed on voice vote by Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, and unanimously adopted and referred to the House Ad Hoc Committee on the review of 1999 Constitution.

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