The police on Wednesday kicked against a move to subject the confirmation of appointment and removal of the Inspector General Police (IGP) to the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
The police further said the appointment of the IGP by the president on the advice of the Police Council without the Senate confirmation was the desire of the police and should be made to remain that way.
Ibrahim Idris, the Inspector General of Police, made these submissions on Wednesday at the public hearing on a Bill for an Act to Repeal the Police Act CAP P19 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Enact the Police Act 2018 (SB 682) held by the Senate Committee on Police Affairs.
He okayed a recommended five-year tenure for a sitting IGP, but disapproved of the appointment of only one Deputy Inspector General (DIG) at the force headquarters.
Idris, who has been having face-off with the Senate and, by extension, the National Assembly, rejected Senate’s confirmation of persons nominated for the position of Inspector General Police as recommended by the Police Affairs Committee.
He said the proposed Bill would help in reforming the police and repositioning it in its key role in the administration of justice.
Idris said: “The police is of the view that the requirement for confirmation of the Senate for the appointment and removal of the Inspector-General of Police in office will tend to politicise the office of the Inspector-General of Police.
“This will disadvantage the police in its efforts to fight crime and criminality in the society.
“It is, therefore, suggested that the requirement for confirmation for the appointment and removal of the Inspector-General of Police be expunged from the Bill as it will make the police less professional in its operations.
Commenting on the recommendation of the Bill that only one Deputy Inspector General of Police should be appointed, Idris said this would, no doubt, affect the effective administration of the force.
He said: “Presently, I have seven DIGs working with me at the force headquarters. Reducing them to just only one DIG will be retrogressive, considering the enormity of administrative and operational responsibilities attached to the office of the IGP.”
Declaring the public hearing open, Senate President, represented by the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, who incidentally sponsored the Bill, said the police in the country should be up to the task in securing lives and property of Nigerians and expatriates.
He said the 75-year-old colonial laws under which the police operate need to be repealed and new laws enacted to put the force abreast of modern day policing, in line with global best practices.
Saraki said the new law, when enacted, would guarantee better performance of the police and adequate protection of citizens’ fundamental rights and privileges under the law.
The Senate president also advocated a comprehensive review of funding framework for the police force.
Chairman, Police Service Commission, Mr. Musiliu Smith, a retired Inspector General of Police, said the commission agreed totally with majority of the recommendations made in the Bill, stressing that if passed into law and effectively implemented, they would improve the police service.
However, Smith noted that the Police Affairs Committee could recommend adequate accommodation of officers and men of the Nigeria police in police environment for efficient service delivery.
He said more policemen should be accommodated in barracks nationwide while more living quarters be provided for officers.
He said: “More men should be in police environment, barracks for the junior ranks and officers’ quarters for senior officers. This will make them to behave well and be well disciplined police.”
Sponsor of the bill, Senator Ibn Na’Allah, said the Nigeria police, which was in the past as one of the best police force in the world, had regrettably had its credibility eroded.
Noting that the police had suffered in the hands of politicians and, even the general public, the lawmaker said: “Every attempt to insulate the police as a responsible institution has failed.
“There are so many allegations against the police. The police need to be insulated from politics and politicians.”
The Oba of Lagos, His Royal Highness, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, who retired as an Assistant Inspector General of Police, advocated improved welfare for policemen, and called on lawmakers to reduce their salaries and allowances to create enough funds for police welfare.