State Police Bill Advances Amidst Controversy: Governors and President at Loggerheads

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In a significant development, President Bola Tinubu and state governors have taken steps towards establishing State Police, potentially reshaping Nigeria’s security landscape. However, the proposed Bill for the establishment of State Police has sparked intense debate amid escalating insecurity nationwide.

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Against the backdrop of rampant insecurity, including recent abductions in Borno, Kaduna, and Sokoto states, the move towards State Police is seen as a response to the urgent need for localized security solutions. Notably, Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State highlighted his state’s plight during a recent visit to the Presidential Villa, seeking assistance from President Tinubu.

However, the proposed Bill has raised concerns about the distribution of power between the President and state governors. While the President retains sweeping control over the Inspector General of the Federal Police, governors may not have similar authority over State Police if the Bill becomes law.

The Bill outlines that Commissioners of Police in states, appointed by governors, can refuse to carry out orders deemed unlawful, with the State Police Service Commission having the final say. This provision aims to prevent misuse of power by partisan governors and ensure accountability within State Police forces.

Proponents argue that State Police would empower governors to address local security challenges effectively. However, critics fear potential abuse of power by governors, turning State Police into political tools.

Nevertheless, discussions around State Police continue, with the Bill recently passing the second reading in the House of Representatives. Sponsored by Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu and co-sponsored by 13 other lawmakers, the Bill seeks to decentralize policing and provide states with greater control over law enforcement.

Key provisions of the Bill include transferring policing from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List, establishing State Police Service Commissions, and introducing safeguards to prevent unwarranted interference by the Federal Police in State Police affairs.

Ultimately, the fate of the State Police Bill rests on ongoing deliberations in the legislative process. As Nigeria grapples with escalating security challenges, finding a balance between centralized control and decentralized solutions remains a pressing concern.


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