PDP Governors Turn Protesters, Tackle FG Over New Police Act

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The Peoples Democratic Party Governors Forum has expressed misgivings about some portions of the new Police Act recently assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The governors spoke in a communiqué released after a virtual meeting of the forum on Wednesday.

In the communiqué signed by Chairman of the Forum and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal and made available to the media, the governors commended the many innovations in the new Act and also expressed concerns about some “unconstitutional” aspects.

They urged the president and the National Assembly to repeal Section 4(1) of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act, 2019 as it “purportedly authorises the President to deduct 0.5% of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account for the benefit of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund.”

According to the communiqué,  “The meeting noted the signing of the New Nigeria Police Act, 2020 by Mr. President, Commander in Chief.

“While acknowledging the many important innovations in the new law, the Forum emphasised the need to make the Nigeria Police Council, which has Mr. President as Chairman and 36 state Governors as members, fully operational and the clearing house on all issues bordering on the organisation and administration of the Nigeria Police Force as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.

“The Forum further observed the discrepancies in S.12(2) and S.12(4) of the Act on the appropriate authority with responsibility to deploy Police Commissioners to the respective States. Whereas S.12(2) gives the responsibility to the Police Service Commission, S. 12(4) gives either the Police Service Commission or Inspector-General of Police the same responsibility.

“This is even more regrettable as the Constitution gives this responsibility to the Police Service Commission (S. 215) (1)(b). We advise that the constitutional provision be upheld.

“Furthermore, the Forum canvassed for appropriate consultations with the Governors of various States on the deployment of Police Commissioners to the States since the Police is a common institution that executes the laws of both the Federal and State governments.

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“The Forum implored Mr. President and the National Assembly to repeal Section 4(1) of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act, 2019 which purports to authorise the President to deduct 0.5 per cent of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account for the benefit of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund, as it is patently unconstitutional.

“The beneficiaries of the Federation Account are the Federal, States and Local Governments only. More creative funding options should be explored.”

The governors also expressed reservations about the controversial Water Resources Bill 2020 and referred the Bill to the Attorney Generals of the PDP-controlled states for necessary advice.

The governors that attended the virtual meeting were Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Udom Emmanue (Akwa Ibom), Senator Bala Muhammad (Bauchi), and Douye Diri (Bayelsa).

Others were Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde (Oyo) and Bello Muhammad Matawalle (Zamfara).

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