Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, has said lawless police officers must be made to feel the full weight of the law if faith in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is to be totally restored.
Gbajabiamila said this while declaring open a public hearing on the Police Service Commission Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill 2020 and the National Institute for Police Studies (Establishment) Bill 2020 in Abuja on Thursday.
While noting that there are many good officers and men of the NPF, the Speaker insisted that there are erring officers that must be cropped off if the nation’s police force is to maintain its dignity.
He said: “We must attempt to weed out the few rotten eggs that seem to give the police force, men and women who lay their lives and put their lives out there on a daily for you and me a (bad name) and that is why we are taking this bill seriously.”
Gbajabiamila said reforming the Nigerian security architecture, with specific emphasis on the nation’s policing system and law enforcement, is one of the cardinal commitments of the 9th House of Representatives.
The Speaker, who is of the opinion that commitment to the PSC Act amendment bill against which the current reps will be measured, said the Nigerian people deserve a Police Force that they can trust.
“They deserve a Police Force that acts within the limits of the law and respects the rule of law. We will do everything in our power to meet these expectations,” he said.
According to him, the bills are good faith efforts at addressing the statutory deficits that have hindered the effective operation of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) over the years.
Adding that beyond statutory reform, “there is a need for concerted efforts to address recruitment and training, funding and operational priorities,” issues which he asserts are the responsibility of the Police Force administration and the executive.
The legislator mentioned that the ninth House of Representatives will be part of those conversations around effecting changes regarding policing and police affairs, adding that the lawmakersin the House will do their utmost to ensure that everything that ought to be done is done and done right.
The Police Service Commission (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2020 is the first attempt to institute an independent system for holding erring Police Officers to account for abuses of power and related misconduct in office.
The Bill proposes changes to the composition of the Police Service Commission (PSC). It further proposes reorganising the Commission to be public-facing and able to receive and investigate complaints against Police Officers.
This Bill will increase the minimum requirement for recruitment into the constabulary and allow for the recruitment of more qualified candidates into the Nigerian Police Force (NPF).