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May 7, 2024

Pushed to the wall over state police(4), by Eric Teniola 

Who else but Professor Benjamin Nwabueze (2), by Eric Teniola

From last week, continues the proposals made to the ad hoc committee set up by Gen Gowon by representatives of Regional groups in the country on how  the Nigeria Police Force should be organised.

East(continued)NB: (a) the office of Inspector-General of Police to rotate among the Regions at least once a year (b) the Regional Commissioner of Police to comply with all directions given by the Regional Government. (c) no mention made of any Minister responsible for police matters, i.e. at the centre (d) police to be financed by the Regions.

Mid-West: (i) Original proposal. Federal responsibility.

(ii) Revised proposal. As in Progress Report, but more precise formulation of the reservations concerning the power of a Regional Government to give binding directions to the Regional Commissioner of Police; this is acceptable only ‘if it is agreed in what circumstances the Premier may give such directions or what directions a Premier may lawfully give’. Additional stipulation that the Police Council has overall operational control for the purpose of S. 70, 71 and 86 of the 1963 Constitution. 

NB: Post of Inspector-General of Police to be a permanent appointment. 

North: (i) Original proposal. Each state to have its own Police. (ii) Revised proposal. As in Progress Report.

NB: (a) Chairman of the Public Service Commission to be included on the Police Council.  (b) Inspector-General of Police to be appointed for a period of three years. 

West: (i) Original proposal. Each state to establish and control its own Police. (ii) Revised proposal. As in Progress Report excerpt: (a) a Regional Commissioner disagreeing with any direction given him by the Head of the Regional Government could request that the matter be referred to the Regional Security Committee for its direction. (b) Police Council to be able, when necessary, to call for expert advice from the Ministry of Establishments (c) Office of the Inspector-General of Police held by the Regional Commissioners of Police rotating annually. 

The Nigeria Police Force maintained its statutory role until General Murtala Mohammed GCFR came to power on July 27 1975. He then set up a Constitutional drafting Committee. The subcommittee on Public Services including the Armed Forces and the Police headed by Dr Obi Wali made the following recommendations. 

(1) “There shall be a police force for Nigeria, which shall be styled the Nigeria Police Force. (Recommendation 1). (2) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Nigeria Police Force shall be organized and administered in accordance with such provisions as may be made in that behalf by the National Assembly. (Decisions on Recommendation 2). (3) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the members of the Nigeria Police Force shall have such powers and duties as may be conferred upon them by any law in force in Nigeria. (Recommendation 3). (4) No police force other than the Nigeria Police Force shall be established for Nigeria or any part thereof. Recommendation 4). 

(5) The legislature may make provision during emergencies for police forces forming part of the armed forces of the Federation, or for protection of harbours, waterways, railways and airfields. In this paragraph, “emergencies” mean periods of emergency under this Constitution (Decision of Recommendation 5). (6) There shall be an Inspector-General of the Nigeria Police and a Commissioner of Police for each state of the Federation, whose offices shall be offices in the Public Service of the Federation. (7) The Nigeria Police Force shall be under the command of the Inspector-General of the Nigeria Police. (Recommendation 7).

(8) The President or such other Minister of the Government of the Federation as may be authorised in that behalf by the President may give to the Inspector-General of the Nigeria Police such directions with respect to the maintaining and securing of public safety and public order as he may consider necessary and the Inspector-General shall comply with those directions or cause them to be complied with. (Recommendation 8). 

(9) Subject to (8) above, the Commissioner of Police of a State shall comply with the directions of the Governor of the State or such other Commissioner of the Government of the State as may be authorised in that behalf by the Governor with respect to the maintaining and securing of public safety and public order within the State or cause them to be complied with: 

Provided that before carrying out any such directions the Commissioner may request that the matter should be referred to the President or such other Commission of the Government of the Federation as may be authorised in that behalf by the President for his directions. (Decision on Recommendation 9). 

(11) There shall be a Nigeria Police Council, which shall consist of (a) The President (b) State Governors (c) Inspector-General of Police (d) The Attorney-General of the Federation.

The Chairman of the Police Service Commission of the Federation shall attend the meetings of the Nigeria Police Council and, save for the purpose of voting, may take part in the proceeding of the council. (Decision on Recommendation 11). 

(12) The policy, organisation and administration of the Nigeria Police Force and all other matters relating thereto (not being matters relating to the use and operational control f the force of the appointment, disciplinary control and dismissal of members of the force) shall be under the general supervision of the Nigeria Police Council. (Recommendation 12).

To be concluded