Nigerians are yearning for a reformed police force – Oke Epia

David OputahFebruary 25, 20244 min

He said for state police to work effectively and independently it will require state legislation that is independent, vibrant and can ultimately stand its ground.

Nigerians are persistently yearning for the reformation of the police force which will assist the security outfit in effectively discharging their primary responsibility of protecting the lives and property of Nigerian citizens.

This was revealed by Oke Epia, Executive Director, OrderPaper, a guest on the Morning Show at Arise TV in response to questions on the recent legislative efforts for the creation of state police.

The bill had been proposed previously by Senators Ike Ekweremadu and Uba Sani but it didn’t scale to a Second reading. However, in its recent presentation by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Reps, Benjamin Kalu, and 14 other members, it has passed through a second reading.

OrderPaper, in its Legislative Intelligence Forecast Entry (LIFE) article for the week, had predicted that the issue of state policing would be on the radar at the national assembly. (Read the full article here.)

As predicted, the House of Representatives on Tuesday passed for a second reading a Bill to establish State Police in the 36 States of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Mr Epia, speaking at the Morning Show revealed that the debate on state police existed before now adding that in virtually every constitutional amendment process in the last Four and Five assemblies, the issue of state police had been raised but there was no political will and determination by the National Assembly and other stakeholders including the executive arm of government to see it through.

He also highlighted the importance of the bill being out in public to allow Nigerians to debate on it.

“The bill should be put out in the public domain let Nigerians make an exhaustive debate on the bill let all corners be heard and their views and positions be taken into account.”

He emphasized that the lawmakers were making efforts to make things better and end insecurity adding that every citizen regardless of their social strata is affected by insecurity challenges. 

“Nigerians are confident that the attention the legislatures are paying on the issue of security will lead us somewhere this time around,” Mr Epia noted.

“It was more of lip service before now, we’ve seen lots of motion and no movement. There appears to be a concerted effort to move this time around because matters have gone to heads, the insecurity situation is becoming unbearable everybody both the low and the mighty are feeling the heat, it has come to a stage where we must all confront the big elephant in the room.”

Responding to questions over fears about the potential abuse of state police by some national leaders and inadequate funding to function effectively, Mr Epia said it appears to be addressed by the draft legislation but noted that the state police bill has loopholes that can be exploited by the state governors adding that beyond the political will to amend the law, there should be a greater will to implement the law.

He added that for state police to work effectively and independently it will require state legislation that is independent, vibrant and can ultimately stand its ground exemplifying that a state legislature pocketed by a governor will do his bidding, emphasizing that we must not create a problem in solving another problem.

Reacting to the issue of funding of the state police, Mr Epia said the bill on state police does not provide any robust funding for state police adding that it captures grants by the federal government subject to approval by the national assembly.

EXPLAINER: All you need to know about the State Police Bill

 

David Oputah

Oputah David M is a Bloomberg-trained Journalist with a diversified experience in online journalism and newsroom management. He is a 2023 MTN Media Innovation fellow!

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