The Presidential Committee on the re-organisation of the Nigeria Police has spoken against the establishment of state police which is being canvassed by some state governors, saying such a move could lead to the dismembering of the country.
Speaking with newsmen after submitting its report, chairman of the committee, Parry Osayande, said the committee also kicked against the establishment of the Ministry of Police Affairs as it has no relevance to operations of the force.
According to him, apart from being illegal, the Ministry of Police Affairs is a drain-pipe to the funds that should be directly managed by the office of the Inspector General of Police.
He said a comparative study of Police forces in the West African sub-region indicates that the Nigerian Police Force is the least paid police organisation.
The committee, therefore, recommended the review of the salary structure as well as re-tooling of the Police with relevant equipment in order to make it more functional.
Osayande said a stronger and more efficient National Police Council with effective participation of state governors; financial autonomy and better professionalism for the police will mitigate the calls for state police.
He noted that state governments would not be able to fund state police, adding that the funding of the police should be borne by all three tiers of government.
“State police? It is irrelevant. They cannot afford. Do you know how much it is to police a country? What we are recommending is that they allow the Police Council to function.
“The President is the chairman, the chairman of Police Service Commission is a member, governors are members, the IGP is a member, and (governors) will bring their policing plan to the council. They will now decide on what to do. We don’t need state police; the country will break up, take it from me.
“The Constitution provides a tri-lateral arrangement for organisation and administration of the Nigeria Police Council, the Police Service Commission and the Inspector-General of Police.
“However, it is a known fact that the Nigeria Police Council is inactive as it hardly meets, and hence does not fulfil its constitutionally assigned role of administering, organising and generally supervising the Nigeria Police.”
Speaking further on funding, the committee’s report noted its satisfactory funding cannot be met through mere federal budgetary allocation.
“It is either that funding of the Police be made a first line charge or an intervention/special fund be created to accommodate the needs of the police.
“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”, it stated.
While 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 since “rather than allow the policing plan to influence the budget, the budget influences the policing plan.
“the fiscal and financial responsibility and accountability of resources of the Nigeria police should be vested in the Inspector-General of Police who is the operational head of the police.
“The Inspector-General of Police should exercise this authority through prudent budgeting (using activity-based costing), and input from all the different Police Commands and Formations with the aim of achieving a decentralization of police resources.
“He should present the financial statements; annual budget; his policing plan; and the report of the activities of the Police to the Nigeria Police Council which would take ownership of the budget, while the Inspector-General defends it at the National Assembly.
“One of the benefits of this is that State Governors who would have had the benefit of a first-hand knowledge of the budget and the report of the activities of the police, would be encouraged to contribute to the funding of the Nigeria Police force.”
“the ministry of Police Affairs has no particular assigned role in the 1999 Constitution as amended, being 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.
“Notwithstanding, the budgeted fund of the Police is unjustifiably domiciled with the ministry of Police Affairs”.
The ministry, the committee said, determines police projects and award of contracts, including organizing and running training programmes involving billions of Naira with no input from the Police who are the end users.
“The result is that some of the projects being executed are not priorities to the Police. This is an aberration which has led to abuse, misapplication and hemorrhage of the limited resources made available to the police”.
Chairman of the committee stressed that “we are saying the placement or super-imposition of the Ministry of Police Affairs is anomalous, the ministry has no legal standing there. So they have constituted a drainage, a sippage, haemorrhage of our limited funds. If they are removed and then the IGP is allowed to handle his own budget based on the list from the last police post to the IGP, then we will be able to provide vehicles, we will be able to provide patrols and all the rest of them”.
The report also frowned at the disparity in remuneration of policemen against the officers of sister organisations carved out of the Police.
“For instance, while the Inspector General of Police earns N711,498 per month, the Director-General, State Security Service earns N 1.336 million per month and the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission earns N1.5 million per month.
“This disparity in salary does not reflective higher responsibility attached to the Office of the Inspector-General of Police.
“Rather than just the basic training for members of the force, we recommended that there should be continuous training so as to ensure professionalism like in patrol, crime detection, administration and training.
“There must be continuation training and then school of intelligence and all that. It was not there for many years since 1861 when the police was established,” he said.
“Also I want you to tell Nigerians that even though the police is bad we need it. We need reorganisation, we are going to change and we need their support. Things are going to change and things are changing you will agree with me since this new IGP came things have been changing.
“There has to be an implementation framework. Every time you will hear government has set up a committee, we will write beautiful report but is never implemented. This time around Mr. President said they will set up a committee made up of eminent Nigerians including some of the people who wrote this report, so as to guide them and see each recommendation to the end at the end of which you will find new police organisation”.