By Ifeanyi Nwoko
The Senate is set to receive for first reading, a Bill to alter the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and create state police.
According to the order paper of the upper legislative chambers for Thursday, the bill is listed as the first item for presentation.
In keeping to his promise to present the bill, Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekwerenmadu is listed as the Sponsor of the Bill.
Ekweremadu is supported in sponsoring the bill by 75 other senators, bringing the total number of sponsors to 76, that is over 82 per cent of the 109 members of the chamber.
As at the time of the report, the bill has not been sighted by our correspondent, therefore a list of notable co-sponsors cannot be readily given.
The establishment and running of the police force is a preservation of the government at the centre and is on the Exclusive list.
With the bill, the Senate seeks to remove Policing from the Exclusive List and put in in the concurrent list, thereby allowing state governors to establish and manage a police force within their states.
The decision of the Senate to allow for state policing came as a result of the unending crisis and killings across Nigeria.
The President of the Senate while welcoming his colleagues from their last break, stated clearly that it was time for the senate to take a decision on the security architecture in Nigeria.
“We have talked about the fact that whether these killings were initial acts of aggression or reprisal attacks, it is clear that either way, it is totally unacceptable and we must condemn it in all totality,” he said.
“Secondly, these are acts of criminality and we should not encourage any other colouration to it, be it religious or otherwise. This is criminality. And as such, we have a role to ensure that we must address this criminality to see how we can fight it.
“We have spoken on many platforms and made suggestions to the Executive on the fact that there is a need for an urgent review of the security architecture of the nation.”
Having made suggestions and listened to security agencies over the killings, Saraki said it was important for the lawmakers to do their own part.
“We as the Senate must come up with our own actions. We do not need to flog the issue. We have told the Executive what to do. We have told them privately and we have told them publicly. However, on our own part, we must decide on what we need to do.”
The senate therefore resolved to amend the Constitution to allow for state policing, while the Deputy President of the Senate promised to present a Bill to that effect.