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The Nigerian Police is operating based on a 1943 law – why it matters

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The Nigerian Police is operating based on a 1943 law – why it matters

Senator Bala Na’Allah, the Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate on Monday said the nation was operating an obsolete Nigeria Police law, which has been in existence since 1943.

Backstory: Na’Allah stated this during a dialogue session with the National Assembly and Stakeholders on Police Reform and Police Bill which was organized by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) in Abuja on Monday, November 19.

Na’Allah said that the shape of the Nigerian Police influenced his decision to sponsor the Police Reform Bill so as to help bring the Police to global standards.

“The Nigeria Police Force is always criticized for not delivering on their responsibility; as a party that promised to leave Nigeria more secure than it met it, we decided to initiate this reform. We are not too comfortable with the situation where only a few get good security, while the larger population is left at their own peril,” the Katsina senator said.

He added that: “We discovered that the structure of the Nigerian Police will never ever give it the kind of efficiency and effectiveness that it requires to be able to secure the population of Nigeria.”

Na’Allah stated that the police reform is expected to bring sufficient funding, and localize the operation of the police in such a manner that every community would be secured based on international best practice.

Clement Nwankwo, the Executive Director, PLAC: “This will be the first time that the 1943 law will be considered for a reform so certainly it is important for us to get the police law reformed. We hopethat this is the huge opportunity everybody takes advantage of to ensure that we bring our law into conformity with modern times.”

Why It Matters: Most Nigerians who have encountered the Nigerian Police Force would be able to speak on why a reform of the Force matters. But there are questions about whether reforming and repositioning the Nigerian police goes beyond the content of this reform bill (which we will analyse at a later date). The ongoing political campaign season has highlighted the fact that there is strong appetite in the country for state and community policing. The over-centralization of the Police may be the biggest problem of all and solving that may take more than this Bill (as needed and long overdue as it is).

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