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Senate Moves To Give Governors Power Of Last Command Over Commissioners Of Police

A gazetted Senate Bill 346 sponsored by Senator Solomon Olamilekan (APC, Lagos-East) is seeking to reduce the president’s control over commissioners of police by giving state governors the power to issue orders to the CPs.

A copy of the Bill obtained by The Guardian, specifically deleted the proviso in section 215 (4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended that empowered the President to overrule any orders given to a Police Commissioner by the state governor.

The Bill also seeks to nullify the provision in section 215 (5) which had prevented any court from entertaining cases arising from such orders issued by the President to the police.

According to the Force Public Relations Officer, Don Awunah, the police will obey any legislation that comes into force.

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“I can’t comment on political decisions; we are professionals and law enforcers. Whatever law comes into force, we would obey,” he said.

Security experts have frowned at the move, saying that it would be a “recipe for national disaster” without appropriate checks and balances to ensure that governors do not use the power for self or political purposes.

Managing Director of Beacon Security Consulting, Kabir Adamu said: “But I think it would be better if one sees the checks and balances the Senate intends to introduce in the new law and to ensure that this very vital institution of law enforcement is not used to serve either political party or self interest. If they do not introduce checks and balances, then it is a recipe for national disaster.”

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Aliu Umar Babangida, the manager of Abuja-based Goldwater & Riversand Consult, a defence and national security firm, said: “It is necessary but not yet the right time to allow governors exercise control over Commissioners of Police.”

There have been calls from different quarters on the need for restructuring of the police force, so that states and local governments can take control of the force so as to curb all forms of crime.

State policing was also part of the recommendations of the 2014 National Confab, but is yet to be implemented.

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