The trouble with Nigeria Police

By IndepthAfrica
In Article
Aug 15th, 2012
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by ex-IGs, Osayande, ngrguardiannew

IG earns less than EFCC, SSS bosses

• ‘No mandate for Police Affairs Ministry in constitution’

• Panel, ex-IGPs reject state police

IT is not new that the officers and men of the Nigeria Police are not well-remunerated. What Nigerians did not know was that this  ill-treatment runs all the way to the person and office of the Inspector-General (IG), the number one cop.

When well-trained and well-educated police officers prefer to be glorified sentries and errand boys for well-heeled persons who can pay them a few naira more, Nigerians wonder.

Now, what would they say, knowing that the IG is not left out of the maltreatment of these security personnel, who are mandated to protect the citizens and their property?

This sordid state of the police affairs has officially been well-painted and released in a report to the Federal Government.

The Presidential Committee on the Re-organisation of the Nigeria Police and the Forum of former Inspectors-General of Police, who unveiled the ordeals of the outfit yesterday, gave a hard-nock to relentless agitations for state police.

Instead of state police, the committee called for autonomy for the Nigeria Police (NP) and the scrapping of the Ministry of Police Affairs to enable the hierarchy of the Police High Command prioritise and maximise the resources allocated to the Force by the Federal Government.

At the presentation of its report to President Goodluck Jonathan in Aso Rock yesterday, the panel’s Chairman, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Parry Osayande (rtd), said since the Ministry of Police Affairs had no statutory roles in the amended 1999 Constitution, it was time the government abolished it.

The retired police chiefs, who met with Jonathan yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, argued that the clamour for state police was an invitation for anarchy because it was not in the interest of nation’s democracy.

The former IGPs, who were at the meeting, included Alhaji Muhammadu Gambo-Jimeta, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie, Mr. Sunday Ehindero and Sir Mike Okiro.

They argued that the most unreasonable thing for any administration to do at this time was to allow state police to exist, stressing that with the current “political climate in our country, a state police would only be a tool in the hands of political leaders at state levels.”

The former Police chiefs, however, disagreed with the Osayande panel on the scrapping of the Ministry of Police Affairs, stating that “there is no need to do that.”

Osayande, who is also the chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), said granting full autonomy to the police would make the security agency more effective and responsive to the needs of Nigerians.

The committee told Jonathan that the present arrangement where the budget for the Force is “unjustifiably domiciled” with the Ministry of Police Affairs, “is an aberration, which has led to abuse, misapplication and haemorrhage of the limited resources made available to the Police.”

The panel in rejecting the calls for state police, said apart from the fact that the states cannot fund a full blown police, the nation’s Police Council should be allowed to function effectively since it is composed of the President, who is the chairman, the governors of the 36 states of the federation, chairman of the Police Service Commission and the Inspector General of Police.

Osayande stated that the institution of the state police in Nigeria would be a prelude to the disintegration of the country.

According to him, the Ministry of Police Affairs at present has no particular assigned role in the 1999 Constitution as amended, being neither in charge of police administration, a duty of the Police Council, nor handling operations, which is assigned to the Inspector-General of Police and appointment, discipline and promotion, a responsibility of the Police Service Commission.

In spite of this arrangement, the panel observed that funds for the Police were unjustifiably domiciled with the ministry.

“We are saying that the placement or super-imposition of the Ministry of Police Affairs is an anomally. The ministry has no legal standing there. So, what we are saying is that it has constituted a drain, a sippage, haemorrhage of our limited funds. If it is 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, provide patrols and all the rest of them.”

The ministry, the committee said, 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, he added, “is that some of the projects 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.” The committee recommended that 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.

The “envelope system” of budgeting for the Police whereby the Federal Ministry of Finance provides a budget template encourages corruption. “This is because rather than allow the policing plan to influence the budget, the budget influences the policing plan,” Osayande said.

He added that “due to the neglect of the supervisory responsibilities of the management teams of the Force at various levels, the Police that should have the purest of human beings now harbour officers with corrupt tendencies and bad disciplinary records. These undesirable elements should not be allowed to remain in the Force,” he said, adding that “officers with physical and mental disabilities as well as those with fraudulent educational qualifications should be flushed out. The purge should be on a continuous basis to ensure the sustenance of the vision of the new Nigerian Police Force.”

On the revision of the salaries and overall welfare of the policeman, Osayande noted that previous reform panels/committees had identified “poor remuneration and conditions of service as factors that have adversely affected police performance. The poverty of the ordinary policeman coupled with weak institutional governance predisposes him to engaging in all sorts of schemes for self-help and survival. These schemes are either criminal or anti-social or both. As aforementioned, despite the fact that the parallel organisations that were carved out of the Nigeria Police only perform part of the functions of the Police, their members of staff are far better remunerated and motivated than personnel of the Nigeria Police. For instance, the salary of the Inspector-General of Police is very meagre when compared with those of the Heads of the State Security Services (SSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“While the Inspector-General of Police earns N711,498 per month, the SSS Director-General, earns N1.336 million per month and the Executive Chairman of the EFCC earns N1.5 million monthly. This disparity in salary does not reflect the higher responsibility attached to the Office of the Inspector-General of Police. It is the recommendation of the committee that the remuneration and general conditions of service of police personnel should be reviewed upward to boost morale, instil discipline and restore the dignity of the Nigerian policeman,” he said.

He called for accelerated implementation of financial autonomy for the Police, adding that the institution is “the only uniform service in the country that is not managing its own budget. We have 774 local governments and I have never seen any mathematician amongst you that can use 774 to divide 300 vehicles. Have you ever seen half vehicle before?”

On state police, the panel said that “one, they (states) cannot afford it. Two, do you know how much it is to police a country? What we are recommending is this: “If they allow the Police Council to function, with the President as the chairman, the chairman of police service commission is a member, governors are members, the IGP is a member, and you bring your policing plan to the council, they will decide on what to do. We don’t need state police. The country will break up. Take it from me.”

Osayande noted that the reason community policing had failed in Nigeria was because the police had earned for itself bad reputation due to corruption and brutality…”

Gambo-Jimeta, who spoke on behalf of the former IGPs, noted that during the First and Second Republics, “the police was directly under the President or Prime Minister. With his busy schedule, the Prime Minister or President did not have enough time to attend to issues that were arising on Police matters.   During the parliamentary days, there was need to have somebody, not the Prime Minister, who should answer questions on Police so a Minister of State was created in the Prime Minister’s office to ensure that he conducted the political aspects related to Police just as he (Minister of Police Affairs) does now to the President. And he needs somebody to explain to the public not a police officer as to the validity of the policies that were carried out by the police that heightened criticisms or recommendations as is being anticipated.”

The former IGP, a National Security Adviser (NSA) under the late Gen. Sani Abacha, stated that the retired IGPs’ Forum was disturbed by the current clamour for state police by certain segments of the society.

He recalled that the military attempted introducing the localisation of police officers in their states of origin, an exercise, which he alleged failed. “The establishment of state police will bring us back to the days of ethnic militias where the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Egbesu Boys, and Yankalare held sway.”

Gambo-Jimeta said in developed democracies such as the United Kingdom and the United States of America, which operate state and local police, “they are now tilting towards a more centralised national police in dealing with contemporary challenges like terrorism and cyber-crime. Furthermore, putting into consideration the political climate in our country, a state police would only be a tool in the hands of political leaders at state levels.

“We don’t support state police because some of us have lived through the history of this country to have experienced the sort of horrible things that happened when various police forces were in the hands of various people in this country. At that time, people from other parts of the country could not freely go to other parts of the country for trade, political campaigns or any other thing nor were they able to exercise their rights of citizenship of this country. The local police forces were bastardised. They were used for all sorts of heinous things. So, at the last London conference where it was decided to create one single police force for the country, it was done among other things for the security of the minority people of Nigeria wherever they happen to be. People have forgotten where we came from, from the era when Nnamdi Azikiwe could not go to Katsina or Maiduguri to campaign, when Ahmadu Bello could not go to Enugu or Lagos; when Obafemi Awolowo could not go to some parts of the country…”

SECURITY CHIEFS’ MONTHLY SALARY

Inspector-General of Police     —  N711,498

SSS Director-General      —  N1.336m

EFCC Chairman      —  N1.5m

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