The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has reiterated commitment of the House to enact laws that will ensure effective policing system in the country.
Gbajabiamila said this on Wednesday at the legislative agenda public policy dialogue series, which has “Policing and Human Rights in Nigeria” as its theme, in Abuja.
He said that police reform had been part of the focus of the agenda of the 9th National Assembly, adding that it was meant to take off early in the year but was derailed by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
Gbajabiamila said that without an effective policing system, the state would lose its legitimacy and authority, adding that efforts should, therefore, be made to avoid such a situation.
“This is why we must commend the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari which inherited a floored policing system but is now making efforts to correct it,” he said.
He, however, warned that an effective policing system would be impossible if the citizenry did not trust the police, adding that communities would not also repose their confidence in a bad policing system.
The speaker, however, said that the House of Representatives was not embarking on police reforms as a result of animosity, adding that the effort was basically aimed at helping the police to become better public servants by removing the rogues among them.
According to him, we must begin to hold officers accountable for their actions and inactions; we must also ensure their welfare from recruitment to retirement.
“Let us see to it that we deliver a better policing system that is accountable and mindful of the citizens’ rights; we must work together to build this nation
“We will look at other nations, how they are doing it to succeed and we will also adopt the best practices to meet our needs,” he said.
Gbajabiamila said that the House of Representatives was poised to leave a legacy of police reform.
Also speaking, Rep. Henry Nwawuba, the Chairman, House Committee on Implementation and Monitoring of the Legislative Agenda, said that the 9th National Assembly was committed to offering innovative solutions to challenges facing good governance in Nigeria.
He said that the legislative agenda of the 9th the House of Representatives was primed on service contract with Nigerians, adding that the committee was poised to ensure that the House lived up to its expectations.
He added that the House would enact a law that would reform the Nigeria Police, adding that the law would improve policing system of the country and make it to work for all the citizens.
Rep. Bello Kumo, the chairman House Committee of Police Affairs, said that when the bill would eventually be laid before the committee, it would provide a viable ground for a cross-fertilisation of ideas.
According to him, the focus will be on how best to police the country and how to provide effective policing system for the country.
He said that the current Police Act did not provide sanctions for any erring police officer, adding that such deficiency must be addressed in the new Police Act.
Mr Muhammed Yahaya, the Representative of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), noted that there was a huge deficit in the country’s policing system.
“Most police officers I see are usually decent and hardworking but in Nigeria, we have a police force with the wrong approach to policing the country,” he said.
Yahaya said that the restoration of peace between the Nigerian police and community was paramount, adding that the police ought to be a public service provider.