By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos.
The Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris has emphasised the need to go beyond the federal budgeting and allocation for an improved funding of the Nigeria Police Force.
Asserting that the Police is seriously under funded, Idris maintained that there was the urgent need to go beyond the annual allocation by government to fund the police if the security agency must meet all its obligations.
He therefore implored the media and civil society to be advocates of improved funding for the police through the Police Trust Fund.
The Police Boss, who spoke at a parley in Lagos with journalists and some Civil Society Groups, implored the National Assembly to urgently pass the Police Trust Fund, saying it would help in a great deal to shore up its fund.
“ The Police Trust Fund is going to be a front line charge that will be deducted from income generated by both federal, state and local governments. Instead of depending on budgetry allocation, we can go for first line charges”, the IGP explained.
He said: “The funding of the police is costly. What we are trying to do is pursue 50 percent of our budgetary requirement from other sources. We are also looking for other avenues where we can address the problem of the police.
“At the same time, we are hoping that the National Assembly would pass the Bill establishing Police Trust Fund, by so doing, open up other sources for the police to generate money. It is possible. It is already happening in Lagos (Security Trust Fund) and has been working wonderfully.
“We are aware that the federal government is financially constrained and so, we don’t think it is right to over burden the system by creating other agencies, which would require funding and creates rivalry. But if more money is availed the police and more people recruited, we can achieve so much more.”
Idris also stated that there were plans to professionalise the police by establishing specialised schools such as Finance, Marine, among others for training.
He urged civil society organisations to support the police in training its personnel on professional conducts.
Noting that the police cannot do it all alone, the IGP expressed satisfaction at the scorecard of the rebranded Special Anti-Robbery Sqaud (SARS).
“We have to synergies. It is Nigeria Police Force. The police belong to you. Own it. We have to synergies for the good of the system. Where you have our policemen who contravene the law, you owe the force a duty to report so that we may know the areas to reorganize.
“We are working hard to restore the integrity of the police. Earning the confidence of the people is important to us and we can only achieve that by changing the attitude of some of our policemen. By the time we achieve that, the people’s trust would be regained and things would be better.
“This is one of the reasons we made it compulsory for officers from the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and above to declare their assets. My management team and I declared our assets when we came on board.”
On the strength of the police, the IGP restated that the service was understaffed and would need over a million policemen to meet United Nations standard.
He said: “We are understaffed. We need over a million policemen to meet United Nations standard. Thankfully, the government has given approval for yearly recruitment of 10,000 policemen. For so many years, there was embargo on police recruitment. Imagine an agency that has been chunning people out yearly either by retirement, dismissal or death, yet no recruitment.
“Besides, the police lost so many personnel in the course of the Boko Haram insurgency. We were the worst hit and still we were not recruiting. So, all these affected the strength of the police.”
Asked why the police uses analogue method to take statements, Idris said it was a function of the law, adding that the country’s Evidence Act stipulates that the prosecution must present hard evidence and written statements.
Appealing for better funds, he stated that of the N300 billion allocated to the police in 2016 budget, only N4billion was eventually released.