Police to Senate: We need N1.13trn annually

ABUJA—THE Nigeria Police told the Senate that if it must perform effectively and efficiently, it would require  nothing less than N1.13trillion for its overhead cost annually, against N31.6billion earmarked for it in the 2017 budget. According to the Police, of the N31.6 billion for 2017 fiscal year, a   meagre amount of N8billion has so far been released. Speaking yesterday in Abuja during a one day public hearing on a bill seeking the establishment    of Police Development Fund organised by the Senator Abu Ibrahim ( APC Katsina South) led Senate Committee on Police Affairs, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris, said the required N1.13 trillion was the current value of N506billion recommended for that effect in 2008 by the late MD Yusufu led Police Reform Committee . The IGP, however, lamented that the    Police, based on yearly budgetary provisions made for it, was grossly underfunded with attendant incapacitation in carrying out its fundamental duties of ensuring security, law and order across the federation .Giving a break down of the required overhead costs of the security outfit, Idris disclosed that of the N19.9bn required to fuel 14,306 vehicles and 3,115 motorcycles on yearly basis, only a billion naira could be set aside for that, out of meagre amount given. He also said this has also affected the kitting of about 300,000 personnel the security outfit has, which ordinarily should gulp N14.58bn but in 2017 budget, only N1.7bn was earmarked for that and even not fully released with attendant improper kitting of men and officers of the Force . Meanwhile, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, while declaring open the event, described the Nigeria Police Force as the most underfunded in the world. Saraki, who was represented by the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, said:  “ It is common knowledge that the Nigerian Police Force remains one of the most underfunded in the world and one of the least funded agencies of government despite its onerous responsibility of securing the country and preventing crime. ‘’The Police Trust Fund bill seeks to provide for a professional police service that has the trust and confidence of the Nigerian populace because it delivers quality service under very conducive working environment. “It cannot be gainsaid that the Nigerian Police Force can play a critical role in safeguarding the country if they are better equipped and motivated than they currently are in order to play their role effectively.” ‘’A very important component of motivating them better is by improving the welfare of police personnel so as to eliminate or reduce the temptation of unethical practices, such as extorting money from commuters at checkpoints, which compounds their inefficiency and gives them a bad image. “The major benefit of the Nigeria Police Development Fund (Establishment, Etc) Bill, if passed into law is that it would open up diverse funding opportunities for the Nigeria Police Force. ‘’By opening up funding windows from corporate bodies, aid, grants and assistance from international bilateral and multinational bodies, the Trust will expand funding for the Nigeria Police, thereby helping to curb the problem of underfunding.” Speaking further, IGP Ibrahim Idris, who wholeheartedly supported the passing of the bill into law, said:  “Police Trust Fund Bill will definitely serve as    the needed solution to the problem of underfunding incapacitating the force. “ There is a close nexus between security and development and    It is our belief    that once the Police is adequately    funded , the problem of insecurity in the country would be effectively tackled and once there is security , required    development    in the country would be achieved.” Other stakeholders at the public hearing, including officials of the Revenue Mobilization ,Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMFAC. Earlier in their remarks, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Abu Ibrahim ( APC Katsina South) and members told the gathering that for the purposes of accountability, the trust fund to be gathered for the force would not be centralized but directly wired to state and local police formations .

Credits/Sources: www.vanguardngr.com