By ADEBIYI ADEDAPO, Abuja
The House of Representatives said yesterday that the National Assembly would likely not consider the establishment of state police in the ongoing constitution amendment process.
This may frustrate efforts of governors of the 36 states of the federation who had on thursday set up a committee to consider the workability of having state police in their various states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) had set up a committee to look into the possibility.
Speaking exclusively to LEADERSHIP Weekend, chairman of the House committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrasaq Namdas, confirmed that the Bill may not be considered by the 8th National Assembly.
The House had in September 2016 passed the bill titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) to provide for the Establishment of State Police and to Ensure Effective Community Policing in Nigeria and for other related matters’ for second reading.
The Bill seeks to compel President Muhammadu Buhari or any incumbent president to establish state police in all 36 states of the federation and the FCT.
The Bill as sponsored by the member representing Ibadan North federal constituency, Hon. Abiodun Awoleye Dada, also seeks to replace the title of “Nigeria Police Force” with the “Nigerian Police Service” in the constitution.
Thereafter, he referred the Bill to the special ad-hoc committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution for legislative consideration.
Although the second prayer of the bill, which seeks to remove ‘Force’ from the nomenclature of the NPF is being considered in the ongoing review of the 1999 constitution (as amended), Namdas confirmed that the committee is not working on State Police.
“We are not considering the Bill on State Police at the committee on the review of the 1999 constitution, the over 20 items we are working on didn’t include State Police. We cannot solve all the problems at the same time, what we have agreed to treat at the committee level are the items we considered in Lagos”, he said.
When asked if the legislature would consider it since state governors have set up a committee to that effect, Namdas said, “They are state governors, they can exercise their executive powers on this matter but at the legislative arms of government, we are not likely to consider it. We will leave it for another constitution review committee, maybe for the 9th Assembly to handle”, he stated.