Neighbourhood Watch D-G Backs Bill For Federal, State Police

A security expert and Director-General of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Watch Corps, Dr. Uche Chukwuma backed the proposed bill by the National Assembly for the establishment of a federal and state Police, saying it was coming at the right time.

Sponsored by the former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator  Ike Ekreremadu. the bill is being reintroduced in the Senate as it failed in 2018 when it was first presented in the national assembly.

The bill seeks to establish a State Police, Federal Police, National Police Service Commission as well as the Federal and State Police Service Commission, among others.

Chukwuma who is the Director General of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Watch Agency while speaking on a live Radio programme in Port Harcourt monitored by the Tide said the present centralized policing system has outlived its usefulness.

He said such a bill was long overdue, but that it is better late than never, just as he lauded the national legislature for garnering the courage to come up with it at this time.

According to him, “This is very apt coming at the right time. As I speak with you, I am putting finishing touches on my third book on community policing. The bill is very much in order. Like I said earlier, the present centralized policing system has outlived its usefulness and this time, Nigerians through the National Assembly goes into restructuring the policing architecture of this country. And talking about State policing at this point in time. It must have been well overdue. But there is no time to do the right thing that is not right. So I quite appreciate and applaud the National Assembly for been courageous enough to pick up this all important issue.”

Asked if some of the powers given to the State Governor will not lead to politicization of the proposed bill, he said “No, I don’t think it will bring the issue of politicization. Let me be very frank to you. I have always said that even the appointment of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) as it is now should have the voice of the National Assembly in ratifying it.

“Therefore the issue of appointing State Police Commissioner in a State Police Command by the Governor should also have the voice of the State Assembly on it. The area I think that I am not too comfortable with is if there is any law which cannot be subject to judicial review, that law is autocratic and dangerous because if a brut occupies such an office he may go out of hand to do certain things that are at variance with public interest.

“The Commissioner of Police should have a tenure spelt out and that tenure should go with the law as is been spelt out and then the age bracket to attain before retiring. So that you don’t overstay your welcome or your usefulness. That is number one. Number two is that the State Governor may not have autocratic authority as it were from the way they have spelt it out,” he stated.

He further said the State House of Assembly will have a role to play in the appointment of the Police Commissioner, rather than being dormant.

“They (State Assembly) are not supposed to be dormant. The other aspect that I mentioned earlier is that of the State Service Commission directing not to be inquired into by any Court of competent jurisdiction.

“If the decisions of the State Service Commission are at variance or contrary to public interest, under the fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Constitution it is supposed to be subject to the Court interpreting certain areas.  Because the Police job as it is, sometimes when you are in operation can make a man to go out of his way to do certain things that will affect the course of justice.

“If it is not subject to Court interpretation, then autoeroticism is there and the society is bound to suffer for it and anybody can be a victim any day, including the very office who is carrying out the directive. One day he will leave that seat and become a victim.

“So let us subject it to all the laws of the land. When the executive is playing a role, the legislature is playing a role, the judiciary should also be given a space to participate where it is necessary. But leaving them totally will be anti-human rights,” the security expert said.

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