Kidnapping: Senate okays five-year jail term for police impersonators

The Senate on Wednesday passed the Police Reforms Bill and approved a five-year jail term for any individual that impersonates a police officer in order to carry out kidnappings.

The bill was, however, silent on punishment for any police officer that engages in excessive use of force against civilians leading to injury or death as the senate agreed that such officer should be subjected to police internal disciplinary measures.

The legislation proposed a five-year single-tenure for the Inspector General of Police, subject to the approval of the senate.

The IG, according to the bill, can no longer be unilaterally sacked by the President without the approval of the Police Council.

Specifically, clause 7 of the bill makes provisions and procedures for the appointment and removal of the Inspector General of Police.

The bill in Clause 7(4b) states that the Nigeria Police Council shall nominate three applicants from among the pool of applicants for the position of IGP to the President for appointment.

Clause 7(4c) of the bill states that the President shall appoint the Inspector – General from recommended applicants subject to the confirmation of the Senate.

However, for removal of any IGP, clause 7(7c ) of the bill empowers the Nigerian Police Council to make recommendation to that effect to the President of the country without Senate’s approval.

The Nigerian Police Council, as stated in clause 6(2) of  the bill, is the highest policy making body in matters relating to the Police Force. It consists the President as the Chairman, the governor of each state of the federation, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission and the Inspector – General of Police.

The Senate, in providing for five-year single tenure for any IG, states that the tenure of such an officer is statutory, notwithstanding his or her retirement age.

The name, Nigeria Police, is also retained in the bill since, according to the committee, ‘ Force’ is captured as part of the name of the crime fighting agency in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

While two years jail term or N5m fine is stipulated as punishment for any impersonator as policeman or police officer, internal disciplinary mechanism is recommended for any police officer who brutalises or kills an innocent citizen.