Senate to amend Constitution to allow creation of state, community police


The Senate plans to amend the Constitution to allow for the creation of state and community police.

Senate President Bukola Saraki disclosed the plan on Tuesday, three days after he faulted the country’s security infrastructure and called for the removal of incapable security chiefs.

“Today, my colleagues and I in the eighth Senate resolved to begin the process of amending the Constitution to allow for the creation of State and Community Police. This is following our debate on solutions to the killings across the country,” the Senate president tweeted.

 The plan by the Senate comes after years of calls for the creation of state police and debate over the issue.

Recent killings in several states have revived the debate over state police with several governors lamenting, over time, about their helplessness to provide security for residents of the state.

In reaction to the killings, the Senate had previously called for more decisive action with some Senators demanding the removal of the service chiefs.

The decision of the Senate to amend the Constitution in favour of state and community police followed a debate on the killings across the country and in Plateau State – after a Point of Order raised by former Plateau Governor, Senator Jonah Jang.

In his comments, the Senate President condemned the killings once again and said it was necessary for the Senate to condemn it and play its role in ensuring the security of lives and property.

“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.”

Consequently, the Senate resolved to:

Condemn the terrorist attacks, mass killings and displacement of the people and occupation of their central homes and farmlands;

Urge the Executive to overhaul the security architecture of the country and to put in place a better security action plan and decisively tackle violent terror attacks threatening the continuous existence of communities in the North Central geopolitical zone and indeed Nigeria;

Urge the Executive arm of the government to undertake the rehabilitation of displaced persons and reconstruction of communities in Plateau North, South and Central Senatorial Districts so they can return to their homes and farmlands;

Urge the Executive arm of government to apprehend and persecute all perpetrators and sponsors of violence, no matter how highly placed they are;

Direct its constitutional review committee to put in machinery to amend the constitution to allow for the creation of State Police;

Fast-track the passage of the Peace and Reconciliation Bill;

Call on security agencies to stop involving themselves in the politics of the nation; and

Mandate that the Peace and Reconciliation Bill, Police Reform Bill be passed within the next two weeks and the Constitution Review Committee within the next two weeks should bring forward the amendment for State and Community Policing.
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