Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West), yesterday alleged that Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State had introduced state police “through the back door.”
Speaking on the floor of the Senate, Melaye claimed the vigilante service law that had already been signed by the governor was an affront to the constitution.
The Senator alleged that the law was in conflict with Section 214 of the Constitution that established the Nigerian Police Force, saying “I bring to the Senate a plan by Kogi State government to introduce state police through the back door.
“This morning (yesterday), I bring to the Senate a law passed by Kogi State Assembly and signed into law by the governor that talks about the establishment service.
“I heard that it is a law of the government and when I went through this law, this law is in conflict with the constitution of Nigeria. This alters the law of the Nigerian police as stipulated in Section 214 of the constitution.
“It is a fact that states can make laws through the state House of Assembly. But the law they make must not be in conflict with the constitution.
“A section of the law passed by Kogi State government reads: ‘the vigilante group will be involved in the prevention and detection of crimes, apprehension of criminals, preserving law and order, protection of lives and properties and will assist other paramilitary agencies in the discharge of their duty’.
“The affront to the constitution is in Section 15 of that law ‘that this service can carry Dane guns and other light weapons that is commensurate with their duties’.”
He added that this was how the Maitatsine crisis started in Kano.
On his part, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba South) said the security situation in the country must be addressed, lamenting that “if we do not stop everything and address this matter, we will wake up one day and the country will not be here.”
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Thereafter, the Senate mandated its committee on intelligence to liaise with the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA, to assess the law.