NIGERIA’S minister of police affairs Muhammad Dingyadi has objected to plans by the National Assembly to whittle down the powers of the president in its new proposed Police Service Commission (PSC) amendment bill.
Earlier this week, lawmakers began debating two bills titled The Bill for an Act to Repeal the Police Service Commission Act and Enact the Police Service Commission Bill, 2020 and A Bill for an Act to Provide for Establishment of the National Institute for Police Studies. Yesterday, Mr Dingyadi appeared at the public hearing of the bills where he expressed opposition to plans to decentralise the Nigeria Police Force.
Both bills were sponsored by Hon Yusuf Gagdi from Plateau State to address issues of gender bias in the former Police Act where a woman cannot rise beyond the position of commissioner of police. His bills would also ensure that anyone appointed as inspector-general of police would spend four years in office in order to have enough time to effect reform in the force.
However, speaking at the hearing, Mr Dingyadi frowned at Section Six of the bill, which conferred the power to recruit constable and cadets into the police force on the inspector general of police. He also objected to the transfer of control of the police to the Police Service Commission (PSC) from the president.
Mr Dingyadi said: “The ministry has about four or five observations to make. First one has to do with what is contained in Section 5 of the draft bill where the power of Mr President to remove the chairman and members of the PSC has to some extent been deleted, leaving only the power of members to resign at their own time.
“We cannot see Mr chairman why this is so, especially since the chairman and members of this commission are appointed by Mr President, whoever has the power to appoint should naturally have the power to remove. Also, the bill specifically states that the responsibility for recruitment of constables into the police force and recruitment of cadets into the Police Academy shall be that of the inspector-general of police.
“I believe that Mr chairman and the honourable members are aware of the controversial nature of this issue and I will like to suggest that since the matter is currently pending at the Supreme Court of Nigeria, it may not be wise to make into law at this stage. It will appear to be pre-empting the decision of the Supreme Court on the matter, so I’m, therefore, suggesting that we should leave the matter for now as it is while we await the decision of the Supreme Court.”
He also noted that Section 4 and Section 6 (1)(b) of the bill, creates the powers of the PSC to employ, train, discipline and deploy persons to serve as investigation officers in all the states of the federation and it also empowers the commission to establish investigation units in the states and Federal Capital Territory to investigate allegations of misconduct made against police officers, was in order. Mr Dingyadi stressed that he was in support of the provision so that the PSC would be in a better position to monitor, investigate officers who are found to be erring in the discharge of their duties.