…Weak oversight, corruption tampering with reform measures — Security Expert
By Isaac Olamikan, Bankole Taiwo, Abimbola Abatta, Ariemu Ogaga, EgbemaVoice,
Police operatives have bemoaned the deplorable conditions they have been subjected to while maintaining that the Federal Government is insensitive to their plight.
Poor welfare packages, meagre salary, and lack of increase in salary, among others have continued to bedevil the police officers.
A senior police officer serving in Edo State, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the Federal Government has refused to pay attention to the welfare of the police, noting that they are subjected to unfair treatments
In a telephone chat with our correspondent, the officer said, “The federal government is not treating the issue of the welfare of the police well. We have been unjustly treated by the federal government. The nationwide EndSARS protests should have addressed our grievances. It ended up shifting the buck at the police which shouldn’t have been so.
“We should let the federal government to know that Nigeria’s problems are beyond the issue of alleged police brutality. The bulk of the problem was just passed on the police probably because they appeared as the soft target for such attacks.
“It is a case of calling the dog a bad name in order to hang it. What else can one say about how the nationwide endsars protest was made to become a fight against the police when there were bigger issues awaiting discuss.
“We call for a more matured approach to issues concerning the welfare of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
“The welfare package of policemen/women is nothing to write home about. We are just getting on to ensure that Nigeria is safe from the assault of criminals and criminalities,” he asserted.
Another serving police officer also lamented the lack of increase in salary. He averred that the Federal Government’s attitude keeps demoralising the morale of police officers.
The officer who requested anonymity said, “The government is doing well in its effort to demoralise us. For some of us, our salaries cannot even build a comfortable four-bedroom flat. The government keeps promising us, but they have not fulfilled their promises. We have not even received November’s salary. It is really pathetic.”
FG continues to pay lip service to police reforms – CDHR
The National Secretary of Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) Comr. Yinka Folarin, has expressed displeasure with the fact that “the Federal Government has done little or nothing to improve on the poor welfare packages for the Nigeria Police.”
Folarin who said this has impacted negatively on the performance of the Nigeria Police, was however, quick to add that despite the poor working conditions, many of the police officers are always out there performing fantastic feats to keep the citizens safe.
The human rights crusader made this disclosure while speaking with our Correspondent on the poor working conditions the Nigeria police officers are daily subjected to.
Folarin said it is regrettable that the police, among the circles of other security agencies in the country, are treated as third class citizens not minding their roles in maintaining law and order in the society as well as strengthenening our growing democracy.
He said despite the fact that the issues of poor welfare for the police and call for wholistic reforms of the police had always been concerns of many Nigerians, the Federal Government has not shown enough commitment to address these nagging issues.
Folarin explained that “obviously, there is a condemnable huge difference in terms of welfare packages and other working conditions between the police and other security agencies such as the Military, Customs among others.
“We have been agitating for the police for a long time that they should be properly remunerated. When they are properly remunerated, then we will have a boost in our security architecture, we shall also be able to fight corruption in the system, I mean in the police.
“In a situation whereby those who stake their lives to protect others are not being treated as human beings as their current working conditions and treatment strongly suggest, then we really have a long way to go in this country.
“The police are being discriminated against, they are not well equipped in terms of logistics, it is a pathetic situation and that is why we are also having challenges with our security in the country.
“The human right groups have always been calling for wholistic reforms of the police and part of what should be at the forefront of this reform is a reasonable package for the police. When you move around their barracks, you will want to shed tears for them because it’s like a group of people that have been abandoned to their fate.
“How do you want them to give their best in such situation, yet many of them have been fantastic at their various duty posts. One of the promises of President Buhari for five for five during #EndSARS protest is the proper remuneration of the police officers.
“Let them also live like the human beings, when they retire let them have access to reasonable pensions and gratuities like their counterparts in the military. Enough of being treated like not even second class but third class citizen.
“The theme for this year Human Right Day this Friday, December 10 is to campaign against inequality so that we can have equality. We shall use this day to revisit some of these inequality issues in Nigeria Police and demand for equality.
“So, the government should stop playing pranks and politics with the reforms that is long overdue and get down to business now so that we too can have a police the world could be proud of. There is no doubt that the shabby treatment meted to them might have impacted negatively on their performance but I still want to say that given the circumstances under which our police work, I will give them pass mark.
“However, we shall continue to be the voice of the voiceless for them and we equally strongly demand that well meaning Nigerians should also join us in raising our voices to demand for better deals for the police because they our brothers, uncles, sisters, fathers, mothers, etc.
“The federal government must henceforth protect the fundamental rights of the police and President Buhari as a true democrat who understands the importance of police in democracy must kick off the much awaited reforms which we believe will take care of some of the challenges facing the police,” he added.
Weak oversight, corruption tampering with reform measures — Security Expert
On his part, a Security Expert and Managing Director of Beacon Consulting Ltd, Dr Kabiru Adamu, said the several reform measures by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration have failed to address the challenges facing the Nigeria Police Force due to weak oversight, corruption and lack of cordination.
According to the Dr Adamu, “The Buhari administration has put in place several measures to see to the achievement of police reform including an enhancement of their salary. These include the newly introduced police act which attempts to improve the welfare of the police, which is yet to be implemented; the police trust fund which has the mandate to fund training, welfare and equipment acquisition for the police but has had teething challenges including a slow and the role of the Ministry of Police Affairs and that of the Police Service Commission as well as the various policing committees on the NASS are among reforms put up by the Buhari’s government to reform Nigerian Police.
“However these measures have failed in addressing the severe challenges of policing including salary and pension as well as other payments mainly due to the structural deficiencies including embedded corruption, weak oversight and absence of coordination in a sector that has a multitude of agencies carrying out policing functions but that are not supervised by the same ministry, e.g. FRSC, NSCDC and NAPTIP, as well as, EFCC among others that perform policing functions but are supervised by the Ministry of Interior while the Police is under the Ministry of Police Affairs.
“All of these make managing the salary needs of these organisations in a challenged economy difficult. This plus leakages within the system including payment by private concerns that goes to private accounts of police officers and corruption means the sector is always lacking of funds,” he said.
He also noted that the Police are partly responsible for their unending funding challenges due to lack of accountability.
“If you add up the N70,000/police that companies pay, it means about N10 billion should be going to the police coffers monthly from this service. However, this is never accounted for.
“There are several other revenue generating services conducted by the police that should have assisted its financial standing but which is been syphoned. Therefore, the police is partly responsible for its funding challenge,” he disclosed.