OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has proposed a bill to give legal backing to local vigilantes and other security outfits to help tackle the menace of insecurity in the country.
The bill which is sponsored by Mr. Oberuakpefe Anthony Efe (PDP, Delta) scaled second reading in the House on Wednesday.
Recall that the vigilantes bill was first read in November 2020.
Leading debate on the bill, Afe said “the beauty of constitutional democracy is that the legislature is saddled with enormous responsibility to continually amend the Constitution to meet the changing needs of the time, hence the 233 years old United State of America constitutional democracy is still witnessing amendments to her Constitution.
“Some of the provisions sought to be injected into 1999 constitution (as amended) by way of amendment are clear provisions seeking to provide legal backing for the creation of state security outfits as a way of complementing the Nigeria Police Force. The rampancy and widespread of violent crimes in every nook and cranny of the country has no doubt overwhelmed the Nigeria Police as presently structured both in personnel capacity as well as modus operandi.”
He continued: “The unabating security challenges make it imperative for the scope of policing to be expanded to make the state governments and councils play defined and more active roles in funding and pooling personnel who are expected to be more knowledgeable about their environment in the key aspect of intelligent gathering and crime bursting other than crimes defined as federal crimes under the proposed new police architecture envisioned in the proposed constitutional amendment.
“The constitution of our country under section 214 has vested exclusively in the Nigeria police the duty of maintaining law and order as well as well as the protection of lives and property. But the upsurge of crimes of diverse nature and their rampancy in almost every nook and cranny of the country has birthed various militias and vigilantes whose interventionist roles restored order in many parts of the country where the overwhelmed police proved incapable of discharging their primary responsibility.
“The stark reality of the indispensability of local policing of the polity has continued to lead to the agitation for State Police and or Local Government Police as well as the emergence of various bodies performing the functions of the Police force outside the police structure which is not legal or constitutional enough as long as we subscribe to constitutional democracy under the 1999 constitution as amended.
“We cannot live in denial of the fact that our security challenges must be tackled in the best template that promote nationhood and that responsibility falls on elected members of the National Assembly to explore the legitimate law making framework to work out a solution that is in tandem with democratic tenets”.
He further explained that the upsurge in criminality across the country calls for desperate measures to be put in place so as to curtail the mayhem been witnessed in every nook and cranny in the country” and that “the amendment sought to be injected into this section circumspectly addressed the reservation of those who rightly fear of local police being open to be used for political ends when the local policing proposed is in the nature of subsuming state/ local police wings under the Federal police structure and equally prohibit the state/ local police arm from having powers over political related issues and crimes to defined as federal crimes.
“And the overall effect which these changes sought to be introduced will have on the modus operandi of the police force is that it will encourage police personnel to engage in intelligence gathering as against the present combative approach that has not produced satisfactory result.”
Recall that the House had resolved to fund training of vigilantes by the army.