The Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris, has kicked against plans by the senate to pass a bill subjecting appointment of Inspectors General of Police (IGPs) by the President to senate confirmation.
Mr Idris made his position known at a Public Hearing on a ‘Bill for an Act to Repeal the Police Act, 2004 and enact the Police Act, 2018.
He further kicked against proposal to empower the senate to remove the I-G whenever it deemed fit, saying such would politicise the force.
Equally, Mr Idris moved against plans to reduce the number of Deputy-Inspectors General of Police (DIGs) from seven to one.
According to him, the reduction will make the job difficult for the I-G.
“The confirmation and removal of the I-G by the senate is not necessary. It will politicise the Police Force. It should be expunged from the bill and the tenure of the I-G of five years should be maintained.
“The appointment of the I-G in consultation with Police Service Commission (PSC) is appropriate. However, there should not be any confirmation by the senate. This is the desire and position of the Police Force.
“There should also not be one DIG. There should be seven as we have already. Having one will put too much pressure on the I-G instead of reducing the workload,” he said.
The Chairman, PSC, Musiliu Smith, said plans to remove “Force” from the Nigeria Police Force should be done in accordance with provisions of the Constitution.
“I have few observations. One is the change of name from Nigeria Police Force to Nigeria Police. If the name has to be changed, it has to be done constitutionally.
“We met a police when all the training schools were working. We met a police where you could not be promoted without writing an examination.
“We met a police where every policeman lived in the barracks.
“Today, some policemen are given houses by criminals and drug bandits. That needs to change and then we should think of additional funding source for the police.
“In Lagos State, a governor came into office. He did not like what he met on ground. He invited some of us to change what was on ground,’’ he said.
Smith added: “That was what gave birth to Lagos State Police Trust Fund. We cannot tackle insecurity without this. Let us think of that.
“The yearly budget ritual cannot help us. It will not take us anywhere. If we want a highly motivated police force, we should adequately fund it.”
In his remarks, the President of the senate, Bukola Saraki, said the bill was meant to establish a cordial relationship between the police and the people.
Mr Saraki, who was represented by the Deputy Majority Leader, Sen. Bala Ibn Na’Allah, said the police required urgent reform.
Mr Na’ Allah, who is the sponsor of the bill, said “the bill will help to protect the police from politics and politicians.”
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Sen. Tijjani Kaura, lauded the bill.
He said “it seeks to reposition the police force to serve the people better.”
Mr Kaura commended President Muhammadu Buhari for increasing the salaries of police officers and expressed optimism that with an enabling law, the police would be better positioned.
Other stakeholders at the public hearing were representatives of the Attorney General of the Federation, Nigeria Prisons Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Customs Service, traditional rulers among others.