By Adewole Kehinde
The Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris last year called on the Federal Government to allocate the annual sum of N1.13 trillion from the Federation Account to the Nigeria Police Force in order to enable it to provide adequate security in the country.
Speaking during a one-day public hearing on a bill seeking to establish the Police Development Fund, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, informed the Senate Committee on Police Affairs that, based on its yearly budgetary allocation, the point could not be disputed that the Nigeria Police was being grossly underfunded. This poor funding, he said, had resulted in the forcea��s inability to execute its fundamental duties of ensuring security of lives and property and maintaining law and order across the country.
Breaking down the overhead costs of the Force, IGP Ibrahim Idris disclosed that N19.9billion was required annually to fuel vehicles and motorcycles belonging to the Nigeria Police Force, with another N14.58billion needed for providing kits for its personnel.
No doubt, the Nigeria Police is underfunded. Over time, the regular source of funding for the Nigeria Police through budgetary allocation has failed to address the financial needs of the force.
It will be recalled that in 2008, the M. D. Yusufu Reform Committee report whose recommendations included an estimate of N2.8 trillion to effectively reform and transform the Nigeria Police for a period of five years, a sum which translates to N560 billion annually.
It is on record that only N16.1 billion was allocated to the Nigeria Police in 2016 for capital development, out of which N10 billion was released.
It is easy to surmise that going by the present low budgetary allocation, the Nigeria Police cannot achieve its goals in the areas of communication and information technology infrastructure, purchase of operational vehicles, crafts and other facilities and provision of the full complement of arms and ammunition, riot control equipment, protective gears, armoury and forensic technology and scientific aids for investigation.
Nigerians would certainly agree with the IGP that the Nigeria Police could do with some upgrade in its operational and administrative logistics, community policing projects and public relations, clothing and accoutrement and construction, rehabilitation and modernisation of infrastructure for capacity building.
Police stations and barracks across the country are in need of rehabilitation, while the welfare of Nigeria Police personnel needs to be prioritised.
If the Nigeria Police is to serve and protect with integrity, then it must be properly and adequately funded. If it is indeed true that out of its N31.6billion allocation in the 2017 budget, only N8billion has so far been released to the Nigeria Police, then it can be said that the nation is not yet ready for effective policing.
The Federal Government must ensure that budget estimates are not just official statistics. Failure to implement the Appropriation Bill duly approved by the National Assembly whacks of a lack of integrity and the situation needs to be urgently addressed.
Indeed, a significant portion of the burden of Nigeria Police funding has often been borne by the State governors. The governors provide operational vehicles and other equipment and logistic support to the Nigeria Police Commands in their various states.
I call on the Federal Government to rise up to the task of funding the Nigeria Police. It is unfair to brand the Nigeria Police for inefficiency while at the same time refusing to fund it properly.
Let me conclude by saying that the urge for the economic development of Nigeria is only possible if the security challenges are resolved. There is a close tie between security and development. Without one there will not be the other. It is the duty of the Police all over the World to provide security.
To have security in Nigeria, the Police which is the foremost security agency must be funded. To fund the Police, the Police Development Fund is the desired solution.
Adewole Kehinde is a Journalist based in Abuja. firstname.lastname@example.org