Sweeping reforms needed to make police work, says Senate spokesman

THE Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru, on Wednesday said only sweeping reforms can make the police work.

Basiru, who represents Osun Central in the upper chamber, in a statement, while presenting a Bill before the Senate on establishment of State Police said: “There had been a deep seated and strong resistance to the idea of police reforms in the country.”

Basiru said unless reforms generated by several high level committees spanning over 20 years are revisited and implemented, the police would remain largely ineffective.

He said as a result the public perception of the police had remained poor while it continued to be plagued with corruption, impunity, lack of accountability, gross incompetence and failure to maintain law and order.

Our present challenge, he said, is to “reverse this perception and transform the Nigeria Police into a true public service organ capable of guaranteeing security of Nigerians.”

The Senator who noted that the recent enactment of the Police Act 2020 might not meet the citizens expectation of an effective police institution that works said that only a wide range of reforms will be required to make the Police work in the interest of all.

“There is a need for a wholesale review and redefinition of the role, function and organisational structure of the Police” to demilitarise it and inject in it operation neutrality as well as autonomous organisational set up, functionality specialisation, institutional accountability and service orientation,” he said.

The candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) for senatorial bye-election in Lagos East, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru on Wednesday commended President Muhammadu Buhari for granting a five-point demand of youths that protested the extra-judicial activities of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squads (SARS).

Alongside the five-point demand of the protesters, however, Abiru urged the federal government to completely implement the report of the Presidential Panel on the Reforms of SARS, which according to him, would go a long way to change the public perception of the Nigeria Police.

He canvassed outright implementation of a 2804-page report at a meeting with residents of Agbowa, Ikosi-Ejirin Local Council Development Area (LCDA) on Wednesday, canvassing the amendment of the Nigeria Police Act.

At the meeting are the APC Vice Chairman, Lagos East, Chief Kaoli Olusanya; a former Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Jokotola Pelumi and husband of Ogun State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Bode Oyedele, among others.

The panel, which submitted its report to the president in June 2019, had recommended the creation of state and local government police as a strategy to strengthen policing and make police officers more accountable nationwide.

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