By Ade-Ade Bosun, Abuja.
The House of Representatives bill on state police scaled the second reading on Tuesday paving way for policing in the country to be on the concurrent list as opposed to its present exclusive list status.
Sponsored by Rep Onofiok Luke, PDP, Akwa Ibom, the bill will complement the police by helping to reduce crime rate at both the local and state levels when passed.
According to Rep Luke, the bill became imperative as a result of the rising state of insecurity across the country, a development that appears to have overwhelmed the regular federal police structure.
“We have had some security challenges and some states have had to set up state security apparatus to fill in the gap,” he said justifying the need for a law on state police.
While making his contribution, Rep Tobi Ukechukwu, PDP-Enugu, pointed out that the creation of state police has become inevitable to the survival of the country. According to him, the bill was a timely and patriotic move by the sponsor, adding that it is coming at a time it has become important for the exclusive list to shed some weights in order to allow for improved security in the country.
“There is no state that does not run its own vigilance group as at now. But they are lacking the power to bear arms, arrest and prosecute. We cannot be pretending that everything is okay,” Rep Ukechukwu said.
Arising from a seeming overwhelming support by members, House Speaker, Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, put the bill to a voice vote and was rewarded with a unanimous approval vote. Thereafter, the bill was referred to the House Ad Hoc Committee on the review of 1999 Constitution.
The bill, according to legislative watchers, is part of the deliberate attempt to amend and overhaul the country’s constitution overwhelmingly adjudged as very defective.