Nigerians clamouring for state police may have to wait a little longer as the process of amending the 1999 constitution to make the initiative possible may take two years.


The desire for state police in Nigeria faces a lengthy process, with constitutional amendments expected to take up to two years. The committee on constitution review, led by Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu, unveiled a work plan extending from January 2024 to December 2025.

The amendment process, including changes to the Nigeria Police Act for state police incorporation, is part of this timeline. The House of Representatives Committee on Constitution Review intends to engage with state governors, traditional leaders, and faith-based organizations in June regarding the state police bill.

To underline seriousness, the Federal Government formed a committee in February to explore state police creation in response to the country’s deteriorating security situation. The police bill, authored by Kalu and others, passed its second reading on February 20, 2024, proposing amendments to relevant sections of the constitution to empower states to establish their police forces.

Named “A Bill for an Act to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Provide for Establishment of State Police and Related Matters,” the bill seeks to move policing from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent List.

However, the process faces hurdles due to its constitutional nature, making it challenging to predict a passage date. The Constitution Review Committee’s two-year plan aims to navigate this complexity.

As part of the engagement strategy, the committee plans to meet various stakeholders, including civil society groups, marginalized communities, and state governors, to gather support for the amendment. This engagement aims to address concerns around local government autonomy and secure backing for the state police bill.

The National Economic Council, chaired by Vice President Kashim Shettima, plays a crucial role, with several states expressing support for state police. However, the process faces delays as not all states have submitted reports on the matter.

Despite the urgency of the state policing issue, the planned two-year amendment process has drawn criticism from experts and former law enforcement officials. They argue that the prolonged timeline undermines the immediate need for enhanced security measures.

Former Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Ali Amodu, emphasized the urgency of the situation, urging swift action from legislators. Security experts like Afolabi Solanke also criticized the two-year timeline, calling for a faster resolution to address the pressing security challenges.

While supporting a thorough process for constitutional amendments, security risk consultant Dr. Kabir Adamu stressed the importance of avoiding wastage of resources and achieving tangible results concerning state policing.

In summary, the process of implementing state police in Nigeria faces a prolonged timeline due to constitutional complexities, with stakeholders emphasizing the need for expedited action to address the country’s security challenges.

Credit: Punch News.

Benjamin Kalu, Deputy Speaker, House of Representative.

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