By Akanimo Sampson
Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) says President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent to the Police Bill signifies a huge commitment to the reform of Nigeria’s policing system that has been long overdue.
PLAC which was founded in 2009, as an independent, non-partisan, non-profit capacity building organisation that works to strengthen democratic governance and citizens’ participation in Nigeria has therefore, commended President Buhari for assenting to the Police Bill.
Through broad-based technical assistance and training, PLAC is working to promote citizens’ engagement with government institutions and to advocate for legal and policy reforms and promote transparency and accountability in policy and decision-making processes.
At the core of its programming is a deep commitment to increase legislative advocacy, promote transparency and good governance, support and promote electoral reforms, enhance citizen’s access to public policies and advance anti-corruption campaigns.
PLAC has worked and evolved into a foremost and leading institution with capacity to deliver cutting-edge research, policy analysis and advocacy.
The new Act however, seeks to provide for a more efficient and effective police service that is based on the principles of accountability, transparency, protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and partnership with other security agencies.
It also seeks to bring about a modern Police that is responsive to the security needs of Nigeria citizens at all levels.
PLAC’s Executive Director, Clement Nwankwo, in a statement says, ‘’the colonial 1943 Police Act regulated the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) for 77 years and was no longer fit for purpose’’, pointing out, ‘’the effort to review the Police Act has been a long and arduous one, starting as far back as 2004, with slow progress being made over the years.’’
Continuing, Nwankwo said between 2002 and 2012 several Police Reform panels comprising experts were set up to develop recommendations on improved policing in Nigeria.
‘’The current initiative which culminated in the National Assembly passing the Police Bill in July 2020 is the first time ever that a comprehensive legislative review of the Police Act has been undertaken since its original enactment in 1943.
‘’The amendment of this law followed from the investment of enormous resources, time and energy by civil society working together with multiple stakeholders such as the Police leadership, Ministry of Police Affairs, the media, and development partners.
‘’With new provisions complementing the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, codifying the Police Complaints Response Unit, providing for mandatory training of Officers, activation of the Police Reward Fund, and promoting set up of community policing structures nationwide among others, the law is expected to go a long way towards promoting professional, responsive and accountable policing’’, PLAC says.
According to him, ‘’other improvements include improved checks on use of police powers and human rights safeguards. With the new Act mandating a regular review of the accompanying 1968 Police Regulations, it is expected that there will be a consequential review of the Regulations which provides guidelines on the more detailed aspects of policing.
‘’PLAC is pleased to have worked with the National Assembly, the Inspector General of Police – IGP Mohammed Adamu, the Ministry of Police Affairs and other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to achieve the realisation of the new Act.
‘’PLAC looks forward to joining hands with the Police and other stakeholders as the new Act sets for implementation.’
Categories: National Security