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Senate to pass Police Reform Bill November — Saraki

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The Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has expressed hope that the Nigerian Police Reform Bill would be passed before the end of November.

Saraki, who hinted that civil society organisations (CSOs) and lawyers contributed to the drafting of new Bill, reiterated the Senate’s commitment to fast-tracking the passage of the Bill.

In a statement, on Tuesday, signed by his Special Assistant on New Media, Olu Onemola, Saraki emphasised that the passage of the Bill would help to create a more responsive and efficient police institution for all Nigerians, given the security challenges that the nation is facing.

“Guaranteeing the safety of the lives and properties of Nigerians remains a fundamental concern for all members of the 8th Senate. As the representatives of Nigerians, all senators agree that there is a need to make our Police more responsive and effective — in order to meet the demands of our nation’s security challenges.

“This is why, in putting together the updated version of the Police Reform Bill, we have consulted widely — involving serving and former members of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF); private sector, members of the civil society; and legal experts. These consultations have been done in a bid to ensure that this Bill is not only comprehensive in its coverage, but also effective in building stronger institutional guidelines for our police,” Saraki said.

Saraki also mentioned that the Police Reform Bill, amends the existing framework between the Police Service Commission and the Police; creates community police fora at the state level — to ensure closer oversight and participatory policing by the public; and Divisional and State Police Boards, which shall be responsible for maintaining partnerships, promoting communication and building cooperation between communities and the police.

“Make no mistake, these new incorporation to the Bill touch on issues that will address the professionalism that should be enforced in the Nigeria Police Force. This is why, it is our fervent hope, that by the end of November, Nigerians across the country will be able to celebrate the passage of this Bill.

“Our determination to fast-track work on the Bill informed the recent decision to change the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs. The mandate given to the new leadership is to ensure that the Bill, which has passed second reading stage should quickly go through the public hearing and committee stages so that we can pass it in the next few weeks,” he added.

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