.Condemns deployment of 30,000 policemen for Ekiti poll
The controversial Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) has been transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari by the National Assembly.It was learnt on Tuesday that the Bill was sent to the President on July 3, 2018. A source close to the office of the President of the Senate, disclosed this.
It would be recalled that the harmonised version of the Bill, after it was considered by the two chambers of the National Assembly, was passed by the Senate on the 28th of March, 2018.The enactment followed the adoption of the report of the Conference Committee on the PIGB, which harmonised the versions earlier passed by the Senate and House of Representatives.The harmonised version of the Bill seeks to unbundle the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and merge its subsidiaries such as the Department of Petroleum Resources and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency into one entity.
Meanwhile, the Senate has frowned at the 30,000 policemen deployed to supervise the Ekiti governorship election scheduled for this coming Saturday.To this end, the Senate yesterday passed for second reading, “A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Police Act CAP P18 LFN 2004 and enact the Police Reform and for related matters,” sponsored by Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah.Leading debate on the Bill, Senator Na’Allah questioned why 30,000 policemen would be mobilized for an election in Ekiti state, while 10,000 could not be could not mobilized to stop killings in Zamfara State.
The lawmaker noted that such action is not in the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that he represents.He said: “30,000 policemen to supervise an election in Ekiti while they could not mobilise 10,000 men to stop the killings in Zamfara and other places! our party, the APC that I represent will frown at this, it is not part of our manifesto, it is not what we promised the people and I am sure that the President himself knows that this is not acceptable.
“Unfortunately, the Police have already conditioned that service, ‘korokoro’ eye service. Let it not be a situation where killings would be involved and we have 10,000 police and an election is going on and we have 30,000 police. I don’t like that situation. I think that it does not represent what we stand for as a party and therefore, we would seek the indulgence of our colleagues to reform this institution that is called the Nigerian Police.”
Responding, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, also expressed worry the deployment of 30,000 for an election, insisting that proper accountability should be done to ascertain the actual number of Police officers deployed to supervise the Ekiti election.
“I am also worried about the fact that we have 30,000 police men you can deploy in a state for election and the other issue here is the issue of sincerity in deploying 30,000 policemen. If it would ensure security of lives and properties, there is no problem with that.
“But sometimes, some of this statistics are misleading and it only goes to count when allowances are to be paid and nobody is sure how many people actually participated, meanwhile, provisions were made for that number that is my worry here. But, if we have 30,000 policemen that were deployed and pay them and it can be accounted for, I have no problem with that anyway. We need to ensure accountability. This is important not just dropping figures.
“We in the Senate are committed to permanent solution to the policing problem that we have in Nigeria, especially, the frustrations we have presently, regarding killings which led to the Senate deciding that we consider the issue of state and community policing.
“I am happy to announce that we have done sufficient work, the Committee of the constitutional review of the Senate would look at the final draft of the Bill and hopefully by Thursday we will take the first reading, but while we are doing that, it is also very necessary to provide a first aid to a troubled situation.”
The Bill, was, however, referred to the Senate Committee on Police Affairs for further legislative action.The passage of the Bill, followed last week’s resolution by the Senate to direct its constitutional review committee to put in place the machinery to amend the Constitution to allow for the creation of State Police and the mandate that the Police Reform Bill be passed.The Bill, among other things seek to amend current Police Act of 1943 , which has been in existence for over 70 years — without any amendments, to meet the current security challenges of a changing nation.
Highlights of the Senate’s Repeal and Re-enactment of the Police Act of 1943 include: “The establishment of a service-oriented and modern Police that will meet globally acceptable policing standards in a democratic setting.”The modernization of the current Police Force (which was conceptualized and established in the Colonial environment to protect colonial interests) with a Police Force that is geared towards protecting and safeguarding the lives and properties of Nigerian citizens.
“The establishment of guiding principles to ensure effective policing in Nigeria. These principles include efficiency and effectiveness; accountability, and transparency; protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms; and partnership with other security institutions.
“Methods of dealing with abuse of weapons by police officers. The Bill also ensures that the police and police officers are held accountable in their actions especially in the areas of arrest and detention of persons and searches.”Clauses that mandate record keeping by the police and clauses that ensure that citizens are fully protected from abuse by Police officers.
“The establishment of a Community Police and Boards in all the States of the Federation that will consist of broad representatives of the community and the State to ensure effective, efficient and participatory community policing.”The establishment of an independent complaint authority to receive and investigate and effectively deal with complaints against police officers misconduct from the public.”
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