Barely 24 hours after the House of Representatives passed a resolution backing the establishment of state police, the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, on Wednesday received a bill seeking to amend the 1999 Constitution to accommodate state police.
The bill was transmitted to Dogara by the sponsor and Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila.
Its key provision is to amend Section 214 (1) of the 1999 Constitution by deleting the phrase “and subject to the provisions of this section no other police force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof” immediately after the word “force.”
New sections 215 and 216 are also to be created by amending the existing sections 217 and 218 to spell out the structure and operations of the proposed state police.
Each state to have police force
The details of the bill are as follows: “217. (1) “There shall be a police force in each state of the Federation.
(2) Subject to the provisions of this constitution – (a) a state Police Force shall be organised and administered in accordance with such provisions as may be prescribed by an act of the State House of Assembly; (b) members of state Police shall have such powers and duties as may be conferred upon them by law.”
Govs to appoint state CPs, LG police chiefs
“218. (1) “There shall be – (a) a Commissioner of Police who shall be appointed by the governor on the advice of the State Police Council from among serving members of the State Police Force;
(b) a Head of Police for each state of the Local Government Area of the state to be appointed by the State Police Service Commission.
“(2) The State Police Force shall be under the command of the State Commissioner of Police.
“(3) The governor or such other commissioner of the government of the state as he may authorise in that behalf may give to the Commissioner of Police such lawful directions with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order as he may consider necessary, and the Commissioner of Police shall comply with those directions or cause them to be compiled with.
“219. (1) Subject to the provisions of this constitution, the State House of Assembly may make laws for the further regulation and control of the State Police.
“The Principal Act is hereby amended by rearranging the existing sections 217 to 320 as sections 220 to 323.
“The Principal Act is hereby amended by deleting item 45 from the exclusive legislative list in part 1 of the second schedule of the constitution.
“That the entire items on the Exclusive Legislative List in part 1 of the second schedule of the constitution is hereby rearranged and renumbered as items 1 to 67 with the exclusion of the deleted item under this Bill.”
The bill also proposes to amend the constitution by creating a new section 21 in part 2 of the Second Schedule to give powers to state Houses of Assembly to create state police commands.
Section 21 reads, “(1) The National Assembly may make laws for the Federation or any part thereof with respect to- (a) Police force and other government security services in respect of anything pertaining to internal security and the maintenance of law and order in Nigeria; and (b) Regulation of ownership and control of Federal Police and other government security services.
“(2) A House of Assembly of a state may make laws with respect to: a. The creation, formation or/and establishment of Police Force and other security services in respect of any matter pertaining to internal security and the maintenance of law and order within that state and with regard to the enforcement of any law validly made by the House of Assembly of that state.
“b. Regulation of ownership and control of State Police and other state government’s security services.
“The Principal Act is hereby amended by renumbering the existing section 21 to 30 of part 2 of the second schedule of the constitution as numbers 22 to 31.
“This Bill may be cited as the Constitution of the Federal Republic on Nigeria (Alteration) Bill, 2018.”
The House, following established procedure, will gazette the bill for first reading this week.
Saraki meets speakers, seeks support for state police
Also, in the upper chamber of the National Assembly, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, called for the support of state Houses of Assembly in the amendment to the 1999 Constitution to allow for the creation of state and community police.
Saraki made the call when he met with speakers of the state legislatures led by the Chairman, States’ Assembly Speakers Conference and Speaker of the Gombe State House of Assembly, Abdulmumin Kamba.
The speakers paid a “thank you” visit to the leadership of the Senate on Tuesday for passing the bill granting financial autonomy to state legislatures, according to a statement by Saraki’s Special Assistant on Print Media, Mr. Chuks Okocha, in Abuja on Wednesday.
The Senate President was quoted as stating that state and community policing had become necessary due to the rising security challenges in the country.
Saraki said, “You are all aware of the challenges we are currently facing in this country particularly that of insecurity. There is no doubt that the security architecture of this country presently cannot meet the demands and challenges before it.
“One of the decisions we took today (Tuesday) is to address the issue of state and community policing. In doing that, we gave our Constitution Amendment Committee two weeks to bring to the floor a bill on state and community policing. The House of Representatives is also working along similar lines.
“We will send it to the state Houses of Assembly to seek your support. We believe that no responsible country or society can continue to watch helplessly as our people are being killed. We must appeal to our people that we must live in peace and harmony and we must be able to resolve our issues peacefully. As speakers, I urge you to play your part.”
Herders murder five in Adamawa
Meanwhile, a dusk attack by herdsmen armed with locally-made guns on Kola community in Guyuk Local Government Area of Adamawa State on Wednesday left five persons dead.
The Adamawa State Police Command on Wednesday confirmed the attacks, which occurred around Mararaba Kola in Guyuk.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Adamawa Police Command, Superintendent Othman Abubakar, said the First Information Report from the Divisional Police Headquarters stationed in Guyuk, revealed that some herdsmen with locally-made guns attacked and burnt seven houses in Kola.
“Herdsmen armed with locally-made guns attacked Kola, burnt down seven houses killed a woman and four other men. Two other victims, a woman and a man sustained gun wounds. Others injured in the attacks have been taken to hospital for treatment while the dead had been taken to mortuary for autopsy, ” the report stated.
According to the police FIR, its swift response to the attacks restored normalcy to the area.
Reports from the area said five of the attackers had been apprehended by local vigilantes.
A resident, Lemuel Bappa, said the gunmen launched the attacks on Kola around 2am and shot three persons including a woman and burnt several houses.
But a police report said five persons died in the attacks carried out on Kola in the early hours of Wednesday.
One of our correspondents gathered that angry youths in the area protested the attacks. Sources said they barricaded the road leading to Guyuk, a development which obstructed vehicular movements in and out of the council.
Herdsmen kill two soldiers, injure Commander in Nasarawa – DHQ
Also, the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, has said armed herdsmen attacked the troops of Operation Whirl Stroke in the Keana Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, killing two soldiers and injuring five others, including the Commanding Officer.
The DHQ on Wednesday said the troops, however, remained undaunted as they had arrested of 21 militias in Nasarawa and 13 others in Benue.
The military said the herdsmen carried out the attacks last Tuesday, but the troops were able to recover weapons including one AK-47 rifle, two locally-made guns and 800 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition.
Operation Whirl Stroke was established on June 8 by the military to restore peace and security in Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara witnessing herdsmen’s crises.
The acting Director of Defence Information, Brig-Gen. John Agim, stated this at a briefing to review the activities and achievements of the operation.
Agim said, “Some troops of the Operation Whirl Stroke carried out a cordon and search operation at a suspected herdsmen militia camp at the Bakin Kota village in the Keana LGA of Nasarawa State on June 26, at 6am. After the operation, the militia elements regrouped and attacked our team, killing two soldiers and injuring five personnel including the Officer Commanding.
“Following this incident, some troops were mobilised for reinforcement. In the firefight that ensued, some of the militia sustained injuries. Our troops were able to destroy their camp.
“The Chairman of the Nasarawa State branch of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Mohammed Hussein, later accused the military of killing six Fulani herdsmen and hundreds of cattle in the newspapers on June 28. This is not true. The information is completely false and unfounded.
“We want the people in these four states to go about their lawful duties without fear of molestation from any quarters. We have done this at a great cost to our personnel which include some who died.
“While the military is not in a hurry to link MACBAN to this militia, investigation has begun to unravel those behind the death of our men. The military is ready to take down those who are responsible alongside their sponsors no matter how highly placed.”
The military spokesperson said apart from the 34 suspects arrested in Benue and Nasarawa, 20 weapons were recovered.
“So far, the troops have arrested 21 suspects, recovered 20 weapons and 882 rounds of assorted ammunition in Nasarawa State. Similarly, 13 suspects have been apprehended in Benue State. The Air Force component has flown a total of 54 sorties totalling 90 hours and 25 minutes, using the Mi-35 helicopter gunship, the F-7Ni supersonic jet and the Mi-35M,” Agim noted.
ASUU slams FG over Plateau killings, seeks probe
On its part, the Academic Staff Union of Universities knocked the Federal Government for its alleged poor handling of the violence and killings in Plateau State.
The lecturers also noted that none of the nation’s political parties at the moment had a defined ideology that could bring about national development.
The union said the ruling political elite were benefiting from the herdsmen and farmers’ crises, as they were the ones arming poor herdsmen and peasant farmers to destroy each other.
The ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, stated this on Wednesday at the union’s state of the nation briefing in Abuja.
He said the government must set up an independent panel to investigate the herdsmen’s attacks and present its report to Nigerians.
Ogunyemi said, “The problem of the communal violent conflicts known as the farmers-pastoralists’ conflicts needs an urgent national solution. The Federal Government must take responsibility for failure to anticipate, manage and control the crisis. The government’s handling of the issue has fallen short of protecting certain constitutional provisions on fundamental human rights.
“Our union condemns unreservedly and unequivocally the unjustifiable loss of lives and property arising from the conflicts. The Federal Government must deal, in accordance with the law, all those who have sponsored or committed such heinous crimes against fellow citizens.
“Nigeria needs a popular democratic system, otherwise known as socialism. The issue of corruption in the country is more serious than any anti-corruption agency can resolve. Ruling class thievery continues in the highest levels across the country and in all ruling parties. The solution to the ruling class culture of corruption lies in the power of the Nigerian people to produce a popular democratic government. This requires a people’s political ideology – popular socialist democracy.
“We have stated that Nigeria’s rulers are the cause and beneficiaries of the major conflicts deeply damaging the wellbeing of the people. The Federal Government should set up a truly national panel consisting of Nigerians who have impeccable records to investigate the crisis in Plateau and present a report to the country. This will be a basis of addressing the crisis.
“On the options for 2019, Nigerians should monitor the promises these people are making. Let us ask ourselves; have we seen any political party that has said that it will implement the Chapter 2 of our constitution and the principles of state policy? We have not seen any political party that can do it.”
Plateau reviewing security architecture, says Lalong
The Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, on Wednesday, revealed that the state government was reviewing the security architecture ‘to close gaps’ identified during the recent attacks on three communities by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
While condemning those “exploiting the killings for political advantages,” he said, “it is wrong to play politics with the lives of the people.”
A statement issued by the Plateau State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Yakubu Dati, quoted Lalong as saying this during the end-of-month prayer organised at the Government House Chapel in Jos.
On the occasion, Lalong also said that “relevant laws are being reviewed to ensure maximum penalties against such criminals.”
The Deputy Chaplain of the Chapel, Rev. Ezekiel Dewan, in his sermon titled: “We hold the key,” took his reading from Jeremiah 29:7, advising believers to pray for the peace of the land.