The House of Representatives is to amend the 1999 Constitution to recognise security outfits created by states to complement the Nigeria Police Force in the effort to protect lives and property.
The bill making the proposal, which Anthony Afe from Delta State sponsored, passed second reading at the House on Wednesday.
The legislation is titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to Give Legal Backing to State Security Outfit to Complement the Nigeria Police Force.’
Already, several states and geopolitical zones have established vigilante groups and security outfits with various codenames.
Prominent among them is the South-West Security Network Agency, popularly called Amotekun, as well as the vigilante network in the South-East, codenamed, Ebube Agu.
Leading debate on the bill, Afe stated that the bill was seeking to “provide legal backing for the creation of state security outfits complimenting the Nigeria Police Force.”
He said, “The widespread violent crimes in every nook and cranny of the country has no doubt overwhelmed the Nigeria police as presently structured both in personnel’s capacity as well as modus operandi.
“The security challenges make it imperative for the scope of policing to expanded to make state government and councils play defined and more active roles in funding and pooling personnel, who are expected to be more knowledgeable about their environment in the key aspect of intelligence gathering and crime bursting, other than crimes defined as federal crimes under the proposed new police architecture envisioned in the proposed constitutional amendment.”
The lawmaker stated that Nigerians could not live in denial of the fact that the security challenges must be tackled in the best template that promotes nationhood.