Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said lawless officers must be made to face the full wrath of his faith in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to be totally restored.
Speaker Gbajabiamila spoke on Thursday while declaring open, a public hearing, 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.
He noted that there are many good police officers and men of the NPF, but stressed that there are erring officers that must be cropped off if the country’s police force is to maintain its dignity.
“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.”
The House developed the PSC Act Amendment Bill after the nationwide #EndSARS protest. The amendment bill enabled the Green Chamber to propose various reforms concerning police affairs in Nigeria.
The Speaker added that reforming the Nigerian security architecture, with specific emphasis on the country’s policing system and law enforcement, is one of the cardinal commitments of the 9th House of Representatives.
Gbajabiamila was of the opinion that commitment to the PSC Act amendment bill will be one of the way to measure the achievement of the current reps, adding that Nigerians 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,” the statesman remarked.
The Speaker maintained that 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.
He added 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 Lawmaker said that the 9th House of Representatives will be part of those conversations around affecting changes regarding policing and police affairs, adding that the legislators in the House will do that utmost to ensure that everything that is out to be done is done and done right.
According to the policymaker, 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 proposes reorganizing the Commission to be public-facing and able to receive and investigate complaints against Police Officers.
The Bill will also review the minimum requirement for recruitment into the constabulary and allow for the recruitment of more qualified candidates into the Nigerian Police Force (NPF).
The legislator emphasized that these objectives are sacrosanct, adding that the only questions those at the public hearing is how best to achieve them.
He then pressed home that achieving the objectives is non-negotiable, going on to say that it is a roadmap on how to get there, that the members of parliament and other stakeholders are looking to address at the public hearing.