Members of the House of Representatives have rejected a bill seeking to reform the Nigeria Police Force.

The bill was rejected on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, weeks after it was passed by the Senate.

The bill was drafted to “provide for the framework for the police service” and also ensure partnership between the police and communities.

Some of the provisions of the bill are: Establishment of a police fund; a fine of N100,000 or six months imprisonment for anyone who assaults a police officer, obstructs or resists a police officer; fine of N20,000 or three months imprisonment for officers caught taking liquor or intoxicating substance while on duty; establishment of community police forum.

However, the lawmakers during their plenary on Wednesday argued against the bill saying “inconsistent with the 1999 constitution”.

Speaker House of Reps, Yakubu Dogara put the bill to vote and the lawmakers voted against it. (Pulse Nigeria)

The Chairman, House Committee on Police Affairs, Abubakar Lawal maintained that the bill is inconsistent with the constitution even though the changes to the Police Act are long overdue.

He said, “Unless we amend the constitution, we can not implement the bill. The bill also proposed the reduction of the number of DIGs, are we moving forward or backward? The bill is also referring to the Police as police force which is against the constitution.”

The Deputy Speaker, Lasun Yusuf supported Abubakar’s submission saying the bill will “further complicate things.”

He said, “Most of the provisions of this bill are against the constitution. This bill is complicating matters. How can we talk about consultation with the governor when the commissioners of police are not answerable to the governors.”

Another lawmaker from Enugu State, Tobi Okechukwu added that the establishment of state police is the major reform Nigeria needs.

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He argued, “the present structure is defective. The governors have all agreed that there is a need for state police. Judging by the crime rate, we need to consider the structure of the police. When you take an Anambra man to Borno, it will take him time to adjust.”

However, Mohammed Monguno, a lawmaker from Borno State argued in favour of the bill saying it will bring the standard operating procedure of police up to the level of international best practices.

Subsequently, when Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker of the House put the bill to votes, a large number of the lawmakers voted against it.

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