Senate Recommends Decentralisation of Police Infrastructure as FG Finally Gets USD311 Million Abacha Loot…

A Nigerian policeman stands guard as All Progressives Congress (APC) party supporters march towards the Independent National Electoral Commission Office in Port Harcourt during a demonstration calling for the cancellation of the presidential election in the Rivers State on March 29, 2015. Thousands of supporters of Nigeria's main opposition party demonstrated in the southern state of Rivers, calling for the cancellation of elections locally because of alleged irregularities. AFP PHOTO / FLORIAN PLAUCHEUR (Photo by FLORIAN PLAUCHEUR / AFP)

In the just concluded week, the Senate adopted the recommendation of its Ad-hoc Committee, set up in January 29, 2020, to review the insecurity challenges in Nigeria and make suggestions on how to restructure the security architecture in order to effectively combat the menace.

Having considered the Committee’s report, the lawmakers recommended decentralization of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) as a means to effectively protect the lives and property of over 200 million Nigerians across the federation.

Hence, it advised the federal government to direct the Federal Ministry of Police Affairs and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to decentralize the police command structure, with operational and budgetary powers spread across the following 11 zonal commands: Kano/Jigawa/Katsina; Sokoto/Zamfara/Kebbi; Kaduna/Niger/ FCT; Ekiti/Kwara/Kogi; Benue/Plateau/Nasarawa; Bauchi/Yobe/Borno; Adamawa/Taraba/Gombe; Lagos/Ogun; Oyo/Osun/Ondo; Edo/Delta/Bayelsa; Rivers/AkwaIbom/Cross Rivers; Imo/Abia; and Anambra/Enugu/Ebonyi.

In addition, the Upper Chamber stated that a Security Advisory Committee should be set up at each zonal command to give advice on security challenges in the zones.

While the Senate urged the State Governors to fund community policing, it also called on the 36 State Houses of Assembly to pass laws that would legalize community policing in their respective states, in order to further protect citizens at the remote corners of the states.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government finally received the USD311 million late Gen. Sani Abacha’s loot from the United States and Jersey; although, it was based on the agreement amongst the parties that the repatriated fund would be used to finance infrastructure projects.

In line with the agreement, FG penned down the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger bridge, Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Expressway and Mambilla Power Project, amongst others, as part of the projects to be financed with the recovered fund.

Given the large size of the country and the complexity of the insecurity, state and community policing appears to be a more effective approach to tackling the meance; although, funding issues and the possibility that State Governors would abuse the control of the security apparatus in their control, remain the worry of most stakeholders.

Hence, we note that a gradual approach to achieving full implementation of state and community policing in the country becomes imperative, given the increasing rate and nature of crimes, especially in remote parts of the country.

Meanwhile, we believe that the repatriated fund would help Nigeria manage through the funding challenge created by COVID-19 pandemic.

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