Nigeria Police College, Ikeja, Lagos is currently wearing a new look as a result of its renovation which was at the directive of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The old police college structure
Unfortunately, some police cadets are still facing hard times despite the fact that the dilapidated buildings and infrastructures are almost completed at the college.
On 13 January, 2013, Jonathan paid an unscheduled visit to the college to ascertain the level of the unspeakable rot in the college and he quickly issued a four-month ultimatum to the Nigerian Army Corps Engineers to carry out total renovation of the dilapidated buildings and infrastructures in the college.
When the reporters visited the college recently, many of the hostel blocks were being renovated. The old roofs, windows and doors of all the buildings have been dismantled and were being replaced with aluminum roofing sheets and sliding windows.
A cadet, who pleaded anonymity said that since the renovation works began in the college, life has become difficult for him and his colleagues as many of them have been rendered homeless and are squatting with friends or sleeping under trees.
“I want to tell you that some of us are still sleeping under trees. None of us is staying in the renovated building for now because the engineers who are working on the building are yet to complete the work.
We heard that the engineers will hand over the renovated building to the Nigeria Police very soon before it can be used,” he said. Another cadet said that life is still unbearable for some cadets at the college.
He disclosed that despite the visit of President Goodluck in January to the college, their condition of living has not really changed for good.
“I am one of the cadet officers who came to Lagos for recruitment but unfortunately we were not allowed to stay in the hostel because of the renovations. It is sad that some of us are still squatting with friends while some of us who don’t have family in Lagos sleep under trees.”
Some of the officers who spoke to the reporters said they want the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, to urge the engineers to finish the work on time so that the cadets can return to the hostel as soon as possible.
The newly renovated hostel inside the Police College which was commissioned by Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Dairu Abubakar
“I think they are almost through with this project and we are expecting the day the hostel will be opened for use. We are happy that government came to renovate the buildings for us but we want to return to our base so that life will be better for us,” said one of the junior officers.
It is not only the cadet officers that are facing difficult time at the college, some market women also complained about poor patronage of customers since the renovation of the college. A wife of a police officer, who refused to mention her name said that there is slight drop in sales in the area since the renovation began.
She said there is poor patronage because many of their customers are cadets, who have not returned to their hostel because of the ongoing renovation in the college.
And added that what contributed to the poor sales is the directive given by the wife of Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mrs Umar Manko that the market should close as early as 7pm instead of 10pm that it used to close.
This, she said, has adverse effect on their sales. “Of course we are not selling the way we used to sell before. We normally closed around 10 pm in the past but now things have changed and it really had adverse effect on sales.
We are using this opportunity to appeal to Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar and Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Umar Manko, to look into our plight,” said one of the officers’ wives.
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the President on Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation, Professor Sylvester Monye, the Inspector-General of Police, Abubakar and the Commander, Army Corps Of Engineer, Major General Funso Owonibi, disclosed that the renovation work was 95% completed, revealing that work would be completed and handed over to the police very soon.
Owonibi clarified that only one building was pulled down while renovation work was carried out on others. Areas renovated, according to him, included the toilets, bathrooms, residential units, cafeteria, and dormitories among others.
The hostels, according to him, were fitted with fans, louvers were changed to slide windows and roofs replaced. “There was a building that has structural defect and a new one was built. Furniture items like beds and wardrobes were built for trainees. We fixed 2000 beds.
But we exceeded the initial specification where we felt it was appropriate. We sank five boreholes and rehabilitated three,” Owonibi said. In his own comment, Prof. Monye explained that the purpose of his visit was to inspect the level of work done so far.
“The president visited here on 13 January, when it was in a terrible state and he committed to fixing it. What is interesting is not just that he has fixed it but with the speed with which he has fixed it. What we have done is to explore our internal resources using the expertise of the Nigerian Army Corps Of Engineers and they have demonstrated their capacity without any doubt.
So, we are very excited about that. “I feel good because if you go right inside the hall, you will see the pictures before and the pictures after. And if you are a Nigerian, you can’t but feel good.
Something very fundamental has happened, as this is the first time in over 30 years that this place is getting a face lift. This shows that the president’s transformation agenda is working,” Prof Monye stated.
Lamenting the poor maintenance culture of Nigerians, he however assured that funds would be made available annually for the maintenance of the college, with a view to preventing it from returning to its former state.
Although he admitted that the college might not be like those in the western world, he expressed optimism that with the current measure taken by the president, it would reach the standard.