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State Police: Shettima, Jonathan, Abdulsalami, others for National dialogue

State Police

By Tom Okpe

The House of Representatives will today (Monday, 22 April 2024) hold a National Dialogue on State Policing in fulfillment of commitment, made by the Speaker of the House, Tajudeen Abbas in January.

The proposal is part of the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution by the 10th National Assembly.

The Speaker had on January 30, 2024, at the first plenary of the House in the year, announced plans to convoke a National Conference on security.

Abbas said: “As we proceed with our legislative duties, our priorities are clear; with the Legislative Agenda of the House, the legislative chamber intended to achieve significant mileage towards actualising the targets across the eight thematic areas.

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“In the area of security, the most important challenge before us is to overhaul and strengthen the security architecture to improve overall effectiveness.

“The proposed security summit is expected to make far-reaching recommendations and concrete areas for legislative intervention.

“Some priority legislative actions in our agenda include improving oversight of the sector, legislating the establishment of a Security Sector Reform Commission to oversee reforms within the sector, introducing stricter penalties for misappropriation, misallocation or any form of financial malpractice within the security sector and passing the whistle-blower protection bill.”

He further stressed that; “We are committed to strengthening inter-agency collaboration, improving intelligence sharing, and leading police reforms,” he stated.

Consequently, the House, on February 20, 2024, passed for second reading, a bill seeking to create police structures in each of the States of the Federation.

However, the Deputy Speaker, Rep Benjamin Okezie Kalu, and 14 others had sponsored the bill, seeking to alter the relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution to empower the States to establish their own policing outfits.

Recall that February 26, 2024, Speaker Abbas, at the inauguration of the House Special Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, noted that State Policing was part of the Legislative Agenda of the 10th House.

“We expect the Sixth Alteration under the 10th National Assembly to be the most comprehensive, as such, the task before the Constitution review committee is profound.

“The House Agenda is ambitious in its scope and encompasses wide-ranging issues, pivotal to our national growth. Among these are devolution of powers, including State Policing; enhancement of fiscal federalism through local government autonomy; further decongesting the Exclusive Legislative List; recognising and assigning constitutional roles for traditional institutions; and promoting inclusivity, particularly, greater gender equity and women representation into appointive and elective positions,” the Speaker had said.

Meanwhile, the dialogue, which will hold at the Abuja Continental Hotel, former Abuja Sheraton Hotel & Towers, is themed: ‘Pathways to Peace: Reimagining Policing in Nigeria.’

Top Government functionaries, international community as well as traditional and religious leaders, among other relevant stakeholders are billed to discuss the proposed decentralisation of the current unitary Nigeria Police Force.

While Speaker Abbas is to deliver the keynote address at the historic event, Vice-President Kashim Shettima, is billed to make remarks on State Policing as the Special Guest of Honour.

Special remarks are to be made by General Abdulsalami Abubakar, former Head of State; Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, former President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Goodwill messages are expected from the local and international community. Those billed to speak at the event include Clement Nwankwo of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC); Richard Montgomery, British High Commissioner to Nigeria; Annette Gunter, German Ambassador to Nigeria; and Elsie Attafuah, Country Representative, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Others are Gen. Christopher Gwabin Musa, Chief of Defence Staff; Sen. (Dr.) Ibrahim Geidam, Minister of Police Affairs; IGP Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun, Inspector General of Police, Nigeria Police Force; Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, Governor of Kwara State and Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF); Sen. George Akume, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF); Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Chief of Staff to the President; and Sen. Godswill Akpabio, President of the Senate.

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