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FG yet to implement Senate panel’s recommendation on police control



The Senate Ad hoc Committee on Security Challenges has recommended the control of the Nigeria Police Force by states as a way of addressing insecurity in the country.

The committee also said each state and the Federal Capital Territory should set up special strike squads, including a special weapon and tactics team to go after criminals.

While calling for the restructuring and adequate funding of the police, the committee in its report further recommended that state security councils headed by governors should have operational control of police deployed in zones, states and local governments in terms of budgeting, command and operations.

The report was signed by the Chairman of the committee, Yahaya Abdullahi, 20 others senators and the Clerk, Vivian Njemanze.

Findings by The PUNCH on Monday, however, indicated that the report, which was submitted in March 2020, had yet to be implemented.

The spokesman, Ministry of Police Affairs, Mr Bolaji Kazeem, said he was not aware of the report and promised to find out if the ministry was implementing the recommendations.

The report read in part, “State Security Council should have powers of recruitment, particularly for general duty officers and constables. The council should have integrated mobile strike squads, special weapons and tactics squads and intelligence units under their control for riot control and quelling insurrection before they assume serious dimensions.

“The State Security Council should be overseen by a civilian security structure comprising the governor, zonal AIG, state police commissioner, military commander, Immigration, Customs, correctional service, first class Emirs/Chairman, Emirate councils, paramount traditional leaders, leaders of faith-based organisations, senators, House of Representatives members, state House of Assembly Speaker, representatives of trade unions/business community and any other person deemed to be useful.”

The committee added that similar structures should be established at the area command, local government area and ward levels.

The report stressed the importance of community policing, which it said should be funded from the grants appropriated from the state assemblies and given to each local government area in accordance with the size of the community police formation based on the budget from the local government area.

At the state level, the committee said the responsibility for the police posted to the states should be from the zonal command budget for the state formations, adding that the states could, however, assist with recommendations and duty allowance during operations.

It asked the Federal Government to give grants to the zonal commands, while each state should appropriate funds from its assembly for the zonal commands.

The committee said the National Assembly should amend the Nigeria Police Act of 1945 to reflect the proposed structure in concert with the Presidency, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Inspector-General of Police, Police Service Commission and the Minister of Police Affairs.

It further stated, “The restructuring (of the police) should be accompanied by the development of a modern police central crime registry, modernisation and amendment of the Evidence Act to admit digital evidence such as DNA, audio and video footage and other forms of forensic evidence; deployment of CCTV cameras, body cameras, bulletproof vests, body armour, surveillance drones, light aircraft and armed helicopters.”

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