Senate, IGP, others disagree over moves to be involved in appointment, sack of Police Boss
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- THE Senate, the Police hierarchy and major stakeholders were on Wednesday divided over moves by the Senate to be fully involved in the screening, confirmation and subsequent removal of the Insptector- General of Police, IGP.
Presenting the position of the police at a public hearing on a Bill to repeal the Police Act Cap P19 laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and enact the Police Act, 2018(SB.682) Organised by the Senator Tijjani Kaura, APC, Zamfara North led Senate Committee on Police Affairs, the Inspector- General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris argued that if the Senate was not allowed to confirm the Police boss, it would help avoid unnecessary politicking that often affects the process.
Idris also submitted that all appointment of police top hierarchy, should be subject to the police service commission only, and should not be allowed to go through an application process which could engender rancour among the officers.
Also today, the Police kicked against move of reduction of serving Deputy Inspectors General of Police ( DIGs) from seven to one as proposed in the amendment bill.
The bill for an Act to repeal the Police Act is sponsored by the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, APC, Kebbi South.
The Police however aligned with proposal for five year tenure for Inspector General of Police ( IGP).
Positions of the Police on the draft bill which has 85 sections were made yesterday by the Inspector General of Police , Ibrahim Idris and other relevant stakeholders
Meanwhile, the Oba of Lagos , Rilwan Akiolu, a retired AIG, during his presentation, called on members of the National Assembly to as a matter of urgency, effect drastic reduction on what he described as their monthly jumbo pay for monies to be raised for proper funding of the Police .
The Oba of Lagos who noted that the Military killed the Nigeria Police, though it has been put as a past event, however said that what the Police needed at the moment was adequate funding if the men must carry out effective and effective service delivery.
According to Akiolu, a retired Assistant Inspector- General of Police, AIG, officers in the lower ranks of the police should be subjected to continuous orientation so as to keep them in tune with the demands of policing in a Democratic environment.
Speaking further, the IGP said” while the proposed Bill will help in reforming the Police and reposition it in its key role in administration of justice, “there are a few observations by the Police Force. The confirmation and removal of Inspector General of Police by the Senate should be expunged from the bill.
“Appointment of the IGP as recommended by the Police Service Commission and nominated by the President without Senate confirmation is desirable to Police to avoid politicisation of the whole process”.
On proposal for one DIG as against existing multiple DIGs, the IGP who noted that it would be counterproductive as unbearable pressures administratively and operationally would be put on IGP and the only DIG, said, “Presently, I have 7 DIGs working with me at the Force headquarters. Reducing them to just only one DIG will be retrogressive”, considering the enormity of administrative and operational responsibilities attached to the office of the IGP.”
In his own submissions, the Chairman, Police Service submission, Mr. Musiliu Smith, a retired Inspector General said that the Commission agreed totally with majority of the recommendations made in the bill, stressing that, if passed into law and effectively implemented, will improve the police service.
He however noted that the Police Affairs Committee could recommend adequate accommodation of officers and men of the Nigeria Police in Police environment for efficient service delivery.
Musiliu Smith who stressed the need for increased sustainable investment in the Nigerian Police, emphasized that this annual ritual of police budget is not enough and cannot do anything in terms of security for this country, whether it was policing, military or the paramilitary because, security is very expensive.
He said, “I know this thing am saying now, that most of the police personnel that are here cannot say it for obvious reasons, and that is why I am saying it because I experienced it as a serving officer and I can tell you that poor funding is the major challenge of the police.”
“I recall that, 25 to 30 years ago when we were in the service, nearly all police personnel were resident in the barracks or police quarters, and they must attend training at the police ccollege before any officer can qualify for promotion.”
According to him, more policemen should be accommodated in barracks nationwide while more living quarters should be provided for officers, adding, “More men should be in Police environment, barracks for the junior ranks and officers quarters for senior officers. This will make them to behave well and be well disciplined Police.”
The Oba of Lagos, His Royal Highness, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, in his submission advocated for improve welfare for policemen one of the ways of doing that according to him, ” is for the federal lawmakers to drastically cut down their monthly jumbo pay
Declaring the public hearing open, Senate President, represented by the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah said the Police in the country should be up to the task in securing lives and properties of Nigerians and expatriates.
He said the 75 years old colonial laws under which the Police operates need to be repealed and new laws enacted to put the Force abreast of modern day policing in line with global best practice.
According to Saraki, the new law, when enacted will guarantee better performance of Police and adequate protection of citizens fundamental rights and privileges under the law just as he advocated a comprehensive review of funding framework for the police force.
In his opening remarks , the sponsor of the bill, Senator Ibn Na’Allah who noted that the Nigeria Police which was in the past as one of the best Police force in the world, has regrettably has its credibility eroded, said that the Police force has suffer in the hands of politicians and even the general public.
According to him, the Bill basically seeks to reform the Nigeria Police Force by changing the name to Nigeria Police. Another objective of the Bill is to operate a single office of the Deputy Inspector General of Police as against what had been in practice since May 29, 1999 when Alhaji Musliu Smith was the IGP.
He said, “Every attempt to insulate the police as responsible institution has failed. There are so many allegations against the police. Police need to be insulated from politics and politicians.”
Among the stakeholders who participated in the one day public hearing were, members of the civil society organizations, representatives of the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, and the Attorney General of the Federation.