The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, said these in an interview with one of our correspondents.
Akande was responding to a question on the step the Presidency intended to take to actualise state police as canvassed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the opening of a security summit organised by the Senate recently.
Osinbajo had, at the event, said state police was the way to go in the face of the security challenges facing the country.
His position has since been supported by state governors.
When asked specifically if the Presidency was planning to send an executive bill to the National Assembly on the matter, Akande said the necessary constitutional amendments would be done as the issue got widespread support, especially from the federal lawmakers and state governors.
He said since there was already a presidential order for community policing to begin, which is currently the focus of the Presidency.
Akande said, “Yes, we have advocated for state police and it is gathering quite a bit of groundswell. As it gets widespread support, especially among the state governments and the National Assembly, we will be able to achieve the necessary constitutional amendments.
“For now, the main focus is to expand the implementation of community policing, which is to achieve virtually the same purpose of police personnel being very familiar with and working in close association with their local communities.
“As you know, there is already a presidential order issued for community policing to begin.”
Osinbajo had, at the summit, said with the size of Nigeria, the country could not be effectively policed centrally from Abuja, hence the need for state police.
He had said, “We cannot realistically police a country the size of Nigeria centrally from Abuja. State police and other community policing methods are clearly the way to go.”
Senate security panel report may include state police
Meanwhile, the Senate ad hoc committee to review the security infrastructure of Nigeria has said the report on its recent national security summit may be presented this week.
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Ahmad Lawan, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the panel was concluding the preparation of the report. “It will be ready very soon, possibly next week. We are working on it,” he said.
A source at the Senate also hinted that if the recommendations of the panel in its report were adopted by the senate, it would lead the lawmakers to carry out amendment to the constitution to allow the creation of state police, among others.
Buhari free to initiate bill on state police — Reps
Also, the House of Representatives said it had concluded the current phase of amendment to the 1999 Constitution in the 8th Assembly and would not initiate a move to establish state police.
It, however, said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led executive arm of government was free to introduce its own bill for the establishment of state police.
The Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the process would require an amendment to the constitution for states to have their own police.
He recalled that a proposal on state police failed during the voting on the amendments last year in both chambers of the National Assembly.
Namdas noted that the National Assembly had already played its role by proposing to establish state police, but that the amendment failed during voting in 2017.
He noted that the Senate and the House of Representatives agreed to revisit some aspects of power devolution after the last constitution amendment.
“On devolution of power, yes, we agreed that we might look at some aspects, but not state police,” he said.
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