Lawmakers in the House of Representatives have said that there is need to adhere to federal character provisions in the recruitment of the 10,000 new policemen nationwide as recently directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The lawmakers urged the Police Service Commission, Ministry of Police Affairs and the Nigerian Police Force to ensure an allotment of ten slots to each of the 768 local government areas and six area councils of the Federal Capital Territory.
The House also commended the President for his “giant strides” in addressing the high level of insecurity and unemployment by the gesture.
Muhammad Sani Abdu, who sponsored the motion with 79 other members, said that the need to enforce the constitutional provisions in the recruitment exercise was borne out of the need to uphold unity, harmony and the country’s integration drive.
President Buhari had made it known that the Nigerian government was set to recruit additional 10,000 police personnel to boost youth employment and security in the country.
The President, on Monday, August 17, said that the government would also establish a properly trained and equipped Federal Anti-Terrorism Multi-Agency Task Force that would effectively address the challenge of future insurgency in a sustainable manner.
President Buhari noted that the need for community input to policing and crime management in Nigeria had become more imperative, considering the current national security challenges; kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, transnational crimes, terrorism and other organized crimes.
He said that in the meantime, efforts were being made to enhance the operational capacity of men of the Police through training programmes that would give them the right civil orientation in their roles as guardians of the constitution.
President Muhammadu Buhari warned Thursday in Abuja that he will not tolerate any irregularities or extortion of money from unemployed Nigerians in the coming recruitment into the police.
At a meeting with officials of the Ministry of Police Affairs and the Police Service Commission in the Presidential Villa, President Buhari said that applicants having to pay bribes before being accepted into the police in the past was totally unacceptable.
The President told the officials that those in charge of recruitment and training in the Police must be above board and eschew every form of extortion and underhand dealing.
“You must ensure that the recruitment process is transparent. Those who will conduct the recruitment must be above board. It should not be heard that they receive gratification or extort money from those who want to enlist in the police,” President Buhari cautioned.
The President also directed the Inspector-General of Police to prune down the number of policemen attached to dignitaries, and redeploy all policemen withdrawn from that role to regular police duties.
On the stagnation of policemen on a rank for many years, the President advised the Police Service Commission to review the current structure of the police, and make recommendations on how the problem can be solved to boost the morale of serving policemen.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Police Affairs, Dr James Obiegbu had, in his briefing to the President, listed inadequate police personnel, dwindling finances and non-rehabilitation of police training schools as some of the challenges facing the police.
The Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Sir Mike Okiro said that the country needed to have more than the 305,579 policemen and women which it has at present for effective policing.
He thanked President Buhari for approving the recruitment of 10,000 additional policemen and women earlier this week.
The Federal Government has released the white paper on the report of the presidential committee on restructuring and rationalization of Federal Government parastatals, commissions and agencies, rejecting most of the recommendations in the Steve Oronsaye report.
In the document released by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Federal Government rejected the recommendation to merge NTA, FRCN and VON.
It also rejected the recommendation to abolish the Federal Character Commission; privatization of FAAN; scrapping of the Ministry of Police Affairs, and re-introduction of tuition fees in federal universities, among others.
The accepted recommendations include: scrapping of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission; repealing of the national salaries, income and wages commission law; scrapping of the National Poverty Eradication Programme, NAPEP; merger of Nigeria Airways Management Authority (NAMA), Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET); and partial commercialization of NIPOST.
Stakeholders have stressed their belief that fighting terrorism in Nigeria requires the collaborative effort of all security agencies, if the country is to ensure public safety and security.
This position was taken during a consultative forum on the development of a national policy on public safety and security for the North Western states held in Kano.
Initiated by the Ministry Of Police Affairs, the national policy on public safety and security will streamline relationship among various security agencies, as well as define meaningful and popular rules of engagement in such a way that public safety and security will not be jeopardised.
The stakeholders’ forum which brought in representatives from the North West geo-political zone of the country is aimed at consulting the relevant authorities on the overall framework of the policy.
Lead facilitator, Professor Femi Odekunle, who admitted that Nigeria is currently facing various security challenges ranging from terrorism to kidnapping, also maintained that the national policy on public is urgently required if Nigerians are to be protected.
However, according to the Speaker, Jigawa State House of Assembly, the performance of Nigeria’s security agencies at the volatile areas of Maiduguri, Yobe, Adamawa and perhaps Kano is not satisfactory; a situation which he said also requires the public safety policy to protect the innocent.
It was also agreed at the stakeholders’ brainstorm that Nigeria’s needs on security are not just about developing the paper work, but having the political will to implement the paper work.
A criminologist and member of the Cleen Foundation, Innocent Chukwuma on Tuesday said the Federal government is not serious in equipping the police with the required arsenal to combat crimes and terrorism in Nigeria.
Mr Chukwuma, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, wondered why it is taking the Federal government so much time to produce a white paper on the report of the Presidential Committee on the Reorganisation of the Nigeria Police which was submitted on Tuesday August 14, 2012.
He said: “While the committee is sitting to draw up the white paper, we saw last week Wednesday and Thursday, the Minister of Police Affairs brought in Accenture Management group to come up with some fancy slides about road map in reforming the police.
“We are asking on what basis is this map since the white paper has not come out. Could it be that because the Ministry was recommended for scrapping in the Perry Osayende report that he wanted to come up with a parallel thing?”
The criminologist said this move by the Ministry of Police Affairs gives a hint that there is no coordination and seriousness by the government in fighting crime and terrorism in Nigeria.
Former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Gambo Jimeta has criticised the call for the establishment of state police, saying it will destroy the unity of the country and retard the growth of the nation.
Mr. Jimeta who spoke to journalists in Abuja, added that the call is part of a grand plan by some Nigerians to destroy the Nigeria Police Force.
He, however supported the call for the scrapping of the Ministry of Police Affairs, saying the ministry has been a cog in the wheel of progress of the Nigeria Police Force.
Despite the myriad of calls for the creation of state police to address the lingering insecurity in parts of the country, the presidential committee on the re-organisation of the Nigerian Police Force has warned against the establishment of state police in Nigeria, warning that it can lead to the separation of the country.
The committee while submitting its report to President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday, called for reforms in the way the Nigerian Police Force is funded, which should involve the three tiers of government.
Chaired by former Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Parry Osayande, the committee in its report stated that granting the Nigerian Police Force financial autonomy and reforming the National Police Council will annul the clamour for the creation of state police.
“A stronger and more efficient National Police Council with effective participation of state governors; financial autonomy and better professionalism for the police will cancel demands for state police” stated Mr Osayande.
According to him, “state governments would not be able to fund state police, apart from the fact that such a move will lead to eventual break up of Nigeria” he said.
He instead advocated a funding structure for the police by all tiers of government.
“The constitution provides a trilateral arrangement for organisation and administration of the Nigeria Police Council, the Police Service Commission and the Inspector-General of Police” Osayande stated to explain the suggested funding by the three tiers of government.
The committee also recommended that the Ministry of Police Affairs should be done away with because of its irrelevance.
Noting that the Ministry of Police Affairs has no particular assigned role in the amended 1999 Constitution, the committee spotted that the Ministry is neither in charge of police administration which is assigned to the police council, nor in charge of operations which is assigned to the Inspector-General of Police nor in charge of appointment, discipline and promotion which is assigned to the Police Service Commission and described it as anomalous.
Budget of corruption
On funding, the Osayande committee’s report noted that since policing is a capital intensive venture, its satisfactory funding cannot be met through mere federal budgetary allocation.
“The committee thus supports the recommendation of the M.D. Yusuf 2008 committee on the reform of the Nigeria police that police should henceforth be jointly funded by the three-tiers of government” the report stated.
The committee also enjoined the federal government to let the police draw its budget on its need rather than the Ministry of Finance.
Recommending that the police be empowered to determine its priorities, draw its budget based on its needs and be held accountable for the use of such funds, the committee added that the “envelope system” of budgeting for the police whereby the Ministry of Finance provides a budget template encourages corruption.
The Governors Forum is currently divided over calls for state police in the on-going Constitution Amendment by the National Assembly.
Governors from the northern part of the country recently kicked against the call, sighting difficulties in funding the state police whilst their southern counterparts have mounted increasing calls for the reforms.
The Presidential Committee on the re-organisation of the Nigerian Police Force was inaugurated on the 17th of February, when they were tasked to identify challenges and factors against effective performance in the police and recommend how the challenges can be addressed.