By Dennis Agbo
ENUGU—STAKEHOLDERS in the South-East geopolitical zone, comprising civil society groups, the media, among others, yesterday, made inputs in the ongoing review of the Nigeria Police Reform Bill, intended to effect constitutional amendments on the 73 years old Nigeria Police Act.
The bill which is in public hearing stage in the Senate was last reviewed in 1943 and is intended to safeguard Nigerians and provide service-oriented policing system for community participation into policing security decision-making process.
One of the technical partners to the Senate Committee on Police and Defence,Mr. Salaudeen Hashim said the South east Consultative Forum which was third in the regional series was to shape the final document.
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Major areas of concern for proposed amendment include changing the name from Nigeria Police Force to Nigeria Police Service; promotion of constables to unify it with general civil service rule; review of torture provision; review of section on gender provision, among other sensitive sections that are of challenge to the laws guarding the Nigeria Police Force.
Hashim however noted that the issue of state police structure is not contained in the proposed amendment, stating that a different bill before the national assembly is taking care of establishment of state police.
He said, “If this bill scales through before the end of the eight assembly and if state police bill also passes through, it means that we have to go back all over again and begin to rework this particular document but this police reform bill has provided for some state-led initiatives in the particular act, but it does not give some level of independence to the states to control their state policing system.”
Hashim said the senate committee is confident that the police reform bill would be passed before the current eighth assembly elapses, “but if it does not, the ninth assembly could probably suspend their rules and start from where they left it, otherwise we start all over again.”