The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Police Affairs has expressed deep concern over the N18 billion allocated to the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in the 2016 Budget given the rising violent crimes in the country, describing the allocation as grossly inadequate.
The committee chaired by Hon. Halliru Dauda Jika expressed its displeasure on Wednesday when the Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahaman Dambazau (rtd), led the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, the Inspector General of Police Solomon Arase, the chairman of Police Service Commission Sir Mike Okiro and others to defend the 2016 Police budget before the committee in Abuja.
It noted with concern that if something urgent was not done to address the matter,the security of the entire country would be in jeopardy with the increasing waves of violent crimes such as terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, insurgency in the North-East, the Niger Delta militants and others vices.
Speaking on the allocation to the Nigeria Police, a member of the committee, Hon. E.J. Agbonayima declared that, “this is where the lawmakers as the representatives of the people have to come in, we can not work with this budget, police can not get the desired result of securing the nation, they are not magicians.”
“If we want the desired results from the police, we need to go an extra mile to provide for their needs, the entire country is now under security threat, we must find solution to their changes,” he said.
For his part, Hon. Oni Johnson stressed the need to handle the issue of inadequate funding of the police dispassionately in the national interest, ”this matter is like going to the farm without a cultlas. how will one going to work,it is like sending the police to the war front without the necessary tools”.
“We are talking of security of lives and properties of the people and we appear not ready to back this up with adequate funding, my position is that if there is any magic we can do as lawmakers to make the police work for the country and achieve the needed results, we have to do it now,there is insecurity everywhere,it is even ridiculous to see in section of the budget where N4million was allocated for ICT,can this procure computers alone for the force,” he lamented.
Other members of the committee also bemoaned the predicaments of the police force and its increasing responsibilities and assured that the committee would look critically into the presentation of the IGP with a voew to addressing all the problems and challenges facing the force for efficient services to the nation.
The IGP. Arase Solomon, had earlier solicited for the intervention of the Committee through adequate budget provision for the force operations most importantly now that the Force had been saddled with the responsibility of re-establishing police authorities in the North-East as all the police infrastructure facilities in the Zone had been damaged by the Boko Haram insurgents.
The IGP stated that the Police would be moving to the North-East to re-establish their authorities in the Zone and that the mission would be like a peace keeping mission which would require a lot of resources including “accommodation for the officers and men, payment of allowances, if we don’t pay their allowances,there will be another problem because this will give room for professional misconduct”.
“Right away, we are moving 32 units of Mobile Police force, MPF, they are on ground in Borno state, the DIG in charge of Operations just returned from the North-East for scooping,we have identified where to house the personnel,we acquired trucks for their operations,we bought tents, mattress and beds,we have gotten a caterer that will cater for their feeding and others,all these requires money,we are still owing contractors over N28billion naira,am appealing to this committee to look into our issue critically withe a view to addressing problems adequately,” he pleaded.
While stating that the N18 billion allocated for the NPF “does not reflect the responsibilities and requirement from the police,” Arase lamented that the money allocated for the fuelling and maintenance of the 317,515 vehicles and motorcycles in the fleet of the NPF in this year’s budget could only last for three months.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry of Interior, Mr. Bassey Okon Akpanyung, in his submissions pleaded with the Committee to provide intervention fund for the police which would domicile in the Ministry,saying that the budget provision for the police in the current year was too tight and as such it would be impossible for the ministry to finance the police adequately.
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