The House of Representatives on Tuesday moved a step closer to bringing about a legislative framework necessary for the creation of state police in Nigeria.
This followed the passage through second reading of a bill for an Act seeking to establish state and community police in the country.
The bill which was sponsored by Abiodun Awoleye (APC-Oyo) also seeks to replace the word “force” from the nomenclature of the police to “service.”
Leading the debate on the general principle of the bill on the floor of the House, Awoleye told his colleagues that he was seeking to alter section 214 of the 1999 constitution as amended in the bid to protect the unity of the country.
“The police is supposed to be for the people, inhabitants of these communities will see the police as part of their communities, it is necessary”, he said.
“State and community policing is necessary because they know the terrain of these localities.”
Favoring the amendment, Oladele Kayode faulted the existing structure of the police, saying it was “colonial in nature”.
He said policing would be more effective in the country when the police are decentralised to provide state and community policing.
At that point of the debate, Speaker Yakubu Dogara intervened, saying that there was no need to “be-labour” the matter since it would be referred to the House special ad-hoc committee on constitution review.
The bill was, therefore, passed and referred to the special ad-hoc committee on constitution review after it was put to a voice vote by the speaker.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government is said to have spent a whopping sum of N4.9 billion on the purchase of imported military and paramilitary uniforms and other wares between 2015 and 2016.
The purchases from foreign markets which includes foot wares, berets, belts, cardigans, head warmers, helmets and branded stockings were said to have been procured via contractors engaged by defence ministry.
The House, therefore, resolved to compel the ministry of defence and interior to take measures aimed at stopping the practice forthwith especially due to the new drive for made in Nigeria and the need to reduce too much demand for foreign exchange.
The resolution followed a motion by Prestige Ossy (APGA-Abia), who drew the attention of his colleagues to what he called, “the ugly development”, lamenting that the rate of over-dependence on foreign market for the procurement of almost everything used in Nigeria has become alarming.
Prestige said that the sum of N4.3 billion spent on apparel in 2016 when converted to dollars at the current rate of N305 per dollar amounts $14.1 million while the sum of N1.6 billion earmarked in the 2015 budget at the benchmark rate of N197 per dollar amounted to $8.1 million.
The lawmaker said that if such trend of patronising foreign market and trading in foreign currency continues, there was no way the government policy of foreign currency conservation can be achieved.
“Such apparels and uniforms can be produced indigenously and procured from indigenous market at a far more reduced price”, he said, maintaining that it behooves the government to put in place palliative measures in form of grants and loans to ensure that indigenous textiles factories are empowered to meet local demands for such apparels and clothing needs of Nigerians.
He noted further that if uniforms and other clothings are manufactured locally, it will boost the productivity of indigenous cloth manufacturing factories since they would produce more uniforms and other apparels for neighbouring countries, thereby boosting the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
Members at plenary adopted the motion and mandated the Bank of Industry to assist garment, shoes and other wearing apparels manufacturers with soft loans to be able to procure modern machines.
They also mandated the House committee on defence and industries to ensure that uniforms and other wearing apparels of the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, Customs, Immigration, Nigeria Police, Civil Defence, Prison and Fire Service and health workers are produced locally.