The modality of the Nigeria Police is set for far-reaching reforms as the Senate on Wednesday passed the Police Reform Bill.
The new Bill contains drastic amendments to and review of some provisions of the Police Act of 1943.
Consequently, upon its assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) will be appointed for a five-year single tenure in office.
IGP’s tenure of office will then become statutory, regardless of the retirement age of the appointee.
Also stated in the bill is that while the President retains the power to appoint the IGP, such appointment has to be confirmed by the Senate. This contravenes the existing practice where the President can fire the IGP at will.
So the new Police Bill demands that police chief’s removal from office has to be by recommendation of the Nigerian Police Council, as stated in Clause 7(7c) of the bill and that the Nigeria Police Council shall nominate three applicants from among the pool of qualified candidates for the position of IGP to the President for appointment.
The Police Council, the bill states, shall be chaired by the President, with the 36 state Governors, Chairman of the Police Service Commission and the Inspector – General of Police as members.
Clause 7 (4c) of the bill states that the President shall appoint the IGP from recommended applicants, subject to confirmation of the Senate.
Also, one of the provisions of the bill is a two-year jail term or N5 million fine as punishment for anyone who impersonates a policeman or a police officer.
Besides, any police officer caught for excessive use of force against civilians, leading to the death or bodily injury shall be liable to two-year jail term or N1 million fine upon conviction.
This, the bill states, is without prejudice to existing internal disciplinary measures in the police.
The Chairman of Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Tijani Kaura, who spoke to newsmen shortly after the Bill went public, said the essence of the bill is to make the police people-friendly and service-oriented.
The senator said training and re-training of police officers and men is also one of the key highlights of the bill, with the welfare of officers and men as priority.
He said: “All the age-long draconian laws in the Police Act of 1943 have been removed to make the police people-friendly, efficient and more effective in crime detection and security service delivery.
“The bill prescribes constant trainings and welfare packages for men and officers with the recently passed Police Trust Bill to ensure availability of funds for implementation.
“In the Police Trust Fund Bill, provisions, like .5 per cent from Nigeria’s gross income, .005 per cent of profits made by companies in Nigeria, would go a long way in helping government to fund the police very adequately for improved security services to Nigerians.”