House of Representatives
House of Representatives

The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, passed for second reading a bill seeking to increase the retirement age of policemen from 60 to 65 years.

In the alternative, the bill seeks to raise the service year of a policeman from  35 to 40 years.

If it becomes a law, a policeman in the country will retire on clocking 65 years or when he has spent 40 years in service, depending on which comes first.

The Police Act Amendment Bill was jointly sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Abbas Tajudeen, and the Chairman House Committee on Police Affairs, Abubakar Yalleman.

They explained that the bill was aimed at  “improving the experience and expertise of the police workforce, to retain experienced personnel and reduce the cost of training and recruiting new officers.”

They also said the bill would “improve the morale performance and job satisfaction and to address the shortage of experienced police personnel and related matters.”

In a brief debate on the bill on Tuesday, Yalleman said the amendment was necessary “given the need to apply the experience of officers who have been trained and has served for a considerable of years.”

“This experience is needed especially in this time of insecurity when experienced police officers are needed to help tackle insecurity in the country,” he said.

Also at the Tuesday plenary, the lawmakers for a second reading a bill seeking to delete the provisions requiring public servants to declare the assets of their spouses.

The bill seeks to delete Section 23(7) of the Code of Conduct Act with the argument that it contravenes the provisions of the Constitution which gives the President power of prerogative of mercy.

The bill to amend the Code of Conduct Act was sponsored by the member representing Epe Federal Constituency of Lagos State, Olawale Raji.

Raji said the Code of Conduct Bureau Act requires every public officer to declare the assets of the spouse, describing the provision as out of tune with the principles of fairness.

“Anyone who declares the assets of his or her spouse be liable to prosecution if the information so declared is found to be false,” he stated.

He also argued that the 1999 constitution gives the President the power to grant amnesty to anybody under the prerogative of mercy policy, adding that section 23(7) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act conflicts with the provisions of the constitution.

He said, “The constitution states that any law that conflicts with the constitution is null and void.”

However, in his contribution, House Minority Leader, Kingsley Chinda, said the provision requiring the declaration of assets of a spouse was made in good faith and aimed at addressing the instances where public officers hide stolen wealth in the name of their spouses.

He added that the age limit of children of public officeholders currently pegged at 21 should be reduced to 18, adding that “At 18, the child can take responsibility for him or herself.”

Following the resolution of the House, the bill to amend the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act was referred to the Committee on Anti-Corruption while the bill on amendment of the Police Act was referred to the Committee on Police Affairs for further legislative actions.