Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (retd.), on Wednesday criticised severely the Parry Osayande-led Presidential Committee on the Reorganisation of the Nigeria Police for advocating the scrapping of his ministry.
Olubolade said the committee derailed by going beyond its assignment. Part of the committee’s recommendations is that the Ministry of Police Affairs, currently under the watch of Olubolade, be scraped.
In an interview with State House correspondents shortly after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, the police affairs minister said the assignment given to the committee by President Goodluck Jonathan was to look at how the police could be reorganised to meet modern challenges, adding that anything outside that terms of reference amounted to derailment.
He said, “Mr. President set up a committee led by Parry Osayande to reorganise the police. That committee should not be misconstrued or should not be confused with the earlier committee set up by the President to reorganise the ministries and restructure ministries and parastatals.
“What happened yesterday (Tuesday) was that this committee headed by Parry Osayande submitted its report to the President. Incidentally, in the same vein, the retired Inspectors-General of Police paid a visit to the President.
“Somehow it got into the limelight that this issue of scrapping the Ministry of Police Affairs became an issue. But the assignment given to that panel was to look at how the police can be professionalised and reorganised.
“Usually, when an assignment like this is given, one must look at the subject. The subject is to reorganise the police and any issue discussed outside that can be termed to be a derail.”
The minister also frowned on Osayande’s disclosure of the content of his committee’s report when the government had not taken a decision on the recommendations. He said such was capable of misleading the public.
“It is usually very nice to wait for the outcome of a report that is submitted rather than disclosing that report to the public because in one way it may mislead the public and that will not be in the interest of Nigerians,” he said.
The minister however disclosed that Jonathan had again set up another committee to look into the report of the Osayande panel and that the recommendation that his ministry be scrapped would be looked into. The new committee will draft the White Paper on the report.
Olubolade said he had been made a member of the new committee, headed by the Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke. Other members of the committee to reappraise the Osayande-led panel report are the Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory, Chief Jumoke Akinjide; and the Minister of Niger Delta, Mr. Godsday Orubebe.
“The issue of scrapping the Ministry of Police Affairs, if it is in the report, will be looked at. And if it is not part of the assignment given, that also will be seen. I will urge you to wait for the report of the committee that has been set up by the President to produce a White Paper on the report,” he added.
In further faulting the call for the scrapping of the ministry, Olubolade said even in the Ministry of Defence, the Army, Navy and Air Force all report to the Minister of Defence who is the political head and that all their budgetary provisions go through that line.
While explaining that there are budgetary provisions for the police, the minister identified regular budget and reforms budget as the two budgetary provisions available to the police.
He said contrary to the claim of the committee, the police on their own, award contracts and the ministry approves payment.
“The police are involved in their own budgetary dispensation. The ministry does not award contracts on behalf of the police except in capital budgets. All operational provisions are managed by the police itself,” Olubolade added.
While submitting his committee’s report to Jonathan on Tuesday, Osayande, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police and current Chairman of the Police Service Commission, had said his committee discovered that the budgeted fund of the police was unjustifiably domiciled with the Ministry of Police Affairs despite the fact that it was neither in charge of the police administration nor its operations.
He said because the ministry determined police projects with no input from police authorities, some of the projects so executed ended up not being of priority to the police.
This, he explained, was an aberration which had led to “abuse, misapplication and haemorrhage of the limited resources made available to the police.”
He said, “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 are assigned to the Police Service Commission.
“Notwithstanding, the budgeted fund of the Police is unjustifiably domiciled with the Ministry of Police Affairs.
“The ministry determines police projects and awards its contracts, including organising 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 haemorrhage of the limited resources made available to the police.”
He said the police should be empowered to determine its priorities, draw its budget based on its needs and be held accountable for the use of the funds.