By Ado Hassan, Sokoto
Sokoto State Executive Council on Monday approved a draft law that will enhance community prevention efforts in tackling crimes across the state.
If passed by the state legislature, the new law will ensure that communities deploy local infrastructure and intelligence to support security agencies in the discharge of their responsibilities.
The draft law comes as part of a wider amendment to the state penal code promulgated in 1959.
A statement issued Monday in Sokoto by the State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Sulaiman Usman SAN, said various methods like neighborhood watch, community policing, urban or physical design, and comprehensive or multi-disciplinary efforts will now be adopted to sanitize communities and reduce crimes to manageable proportions.
“These strategies will engage residents and the larger communities in addressing factors that contribute to crime and disobedience to law and order and promotion of social vices. It also has provision that makes it illegal for any person to allow his or her property to be used for the purpose of committing offences or to harbour any criminal suspected to have committed crimes elsewhere,” he added.
Other aspects of the all-encompassing amendment include punitive punishment for crimes like kidnapping, hostage taking, cyber crime and terrorism.
According to the statement, the Council has also approved the passage of a bill for the state Contributory Healthcare Scheme. Under the bill, the Islamic principles of mutual solidarity and support for individuals and communities have been adopted as the guiding principle.
It said other bills approved for onward delivery to the state House of Assembly are the bill to establish the State College of Midwifery to be sited in Tambuwal LGA; a bill harmonizing retirement age of academic staff of tertiary institutions in the state from 60 to 65 years and a bill to amend the Sokoto State University Law.
“The Council also approved a draft white paper on the report of the Committee to assess activities of Shehu Shagari College of Education while at the same time, it gave its approval to the recommendations of the report of the committee on sales of government houses to deserving occupants by extending of payment duration from six months as the committee recommended, to one year.
“Under the new approval, present occupants of the houses and other intending buyers will pay 20 percent of the cost as initial payment within three months while the balance of 70 percent are to be paid within nine months,” the statement added.