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Reps move to establish state police, pass bill for second reading

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The House of Representatives has passed a bill for the second reading, a bill seeking to amend the 1999 constitution by allowing the 36 states in the federation to establish state police.

The bill, seeking to amend the 1999 constitution, was debated on Tuesday and passed for the second reading.

Ben Kalu and 14 others sponsored the bill.

It comprises 18 clauses intending to amend 14 sections of the constitution, notably to transfer police from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list—permitting both state and federal governments to establish a police force.

While presenting the bill on behalf of the co-sponsors, Muktar Shagaya stated that state police is not only a matter of federalism but an exigency of time calling for the creation of state police.

“This bill emerges as a necessary response to several calls for a decentralised and community-oriented approach to law enforcement. It seeks to navigate the complex landscape of security challenges by empowering our states with the means to address issues unique to their localities.

“This proposed alteration represents not just a legal adjustment to our grundnorm, but a visionary leap towards a safer, more secure, and harmonious Nigeria,” he said.

Chief Whip, Bello Kumo, expressed concerns about the prolonged military rule that relegated the police to the background.

“The federal government has not been able to adequately fund the police. Why have we not been able to adequately recruit personnel?” he said.

While supporting the bill, he also expressed fear, stating that the probability of governors abusing police in their states is real.

Several members who spoke on the bill supported it; however, Sada Soli and Obinna Aguocha spoke against the bill.

Mr Soli raised concerns about the possibility of abuse by governors and their ability to finance the police in their states.

Meanwhile, Mr Aguocha said the creation of state police would hinder the free flow of trade.

The motion was subsequently put to a voice vote and passed. It was, therefore, referred to the Committee on Constitution Review.

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