The Nigerian Senate in an audacious move, move to decentralise Police Command in a new amendment bill seeking to amend the Police Act, 2020.
The new bill titled ‘The Nigeria Police Act 2020 (Amendment) Bill, 2021’, was sponsored by Senator Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru (APC, Osun).
According to Basiru, the bill seeks to enhance the operational capacity of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) through the removal of constraints of funds and whittling down the over-centralisation of the command structure of the police force.
Furthermore, the proposed amendment involves the decentralisation of the command structure with more focus on operational and budgetary powers vested in the zonal offices.
The bill also seeks to establish a zonal security advisory council and state security advisory council to advise on the security challenges facing each zone or state respectively.
Crucial excerpts from the new bill include:
• The amendment seeks to insert a new Section ‘6(7)’ which provides for the structure of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) as follows:
(a) Force Headquarters; (b) Zonal Headquarters; (c) State Commands; (d) Training Institutes; (e) Area Commands; (f)Divisional Police Headquarters and (g) Police Stations.
• The new Section 6(9)(a) of the bill establishes the zonal structure of the NPF to be headed by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police, who is given the power of budgetary control over the respective zones.
The provision makes for an even spread to all the geopolitical zones in the country and also obviates the unnecessary administrative bottleneck of having to report to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) in Abuja before key decisions are made, especially urgent decisions on funds.
According to the sponsor, “The amendments being sought to be implemented in the Police Act also align with the clamour for state police as the bill has made way for the participation of state actors in the affairs of the police force as it affects their zones and or states respectively.
“These amendments, if favourably considered and implemented, would improve our security apparatus and address the security challenges facing the nation,” he said.