Funding Police Remains Huge Challenge for Govt

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President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, described the funding of the Nigeria Police as a huge challenge for government. Although, Buhari said it was the reason government set up the Police Trust Fund, he maintained there was still need to source more funding avenues for the police in order to enhance the security of the society.

The president spoke at the commissioning of a block of 66 flats built by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for officers of the Nigeria Police Special Protection Unit Base 6, at Omagwa, Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State. He boasted that the federal government on his watch had invested significantly in the NDDC, as could be seen in the many projects across the Niger Delta states.

But Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, in his remarks, said NDDC had become a cash cow for politicians.

In his speech, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, disclosed that NDCC was struggling to complete 13, 777 abandoned projects across the Niger Delta states.

Inspector General of Police Alkali Baba Usman commended Buhari for the police quarters, saying it is a key security project.

Buhari, who was represented by the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, at the inauguration, advised that the resources pumped into the commission should be justifiable and must impact positively on the people of the region. The president stated that the Nigeria Police had been effective in their role of protecting lives and property. He restated the federal government’s commitment to providing a fair and convenient ground for police personnel to operate in their fight against insecurity.

Buhari stated, “Funding of the police force remains a huge challenge, which is why we work with the National Assembly to enact the police trust fund Act. We are looking at other measures to improve funding for the police.

“Today’s event meets two objectives: the first is, it is an important part of our government’s effort to improve the lives and livelihood of our police officers and men. And it is also another important milestone in our administration’s pursuit of the peace, prosperity and the development of the Niger Delta.

“We recognised that establishing adequate security is absolutely integral to the fulfilment of this administration’s objective, which is why we have committed significant resources to projects such that we are about to commission.”

Buhari added, “Our police force is a crucial component of our law enforcement architecture. They are the civil force, the closest to the people in the various communities. In the past months, we have been undertaking a major reform of the police. For us, we believe that we must increase the number of police personnel. So, we are also in the process of re-equipping our personnel, both in personal gear and hardware.

“An important feature of the reform is the accommodation for men and officers. I have directed that the building of barracks for men and women of the police force should be done in collaboration with the social housing effort or the family homes fund. This will ensure speedy execution of all of the projects, and all of the barracks that need to be provided.”

The president also said, “The federal government has invested significantly in the NDDC and we recognise that this outplay of resources must be justified with very viable projects and will improve the living standard of the people of this region.

“And as we hand over this facility to the Nigeria Police force, let me reiterate that with our security, there would be more development. This is the basis of my administration’s commitment to continue to provide various platforms for all the security agencies and the fight against terrorism, banditry and all forms of criminality.”

In his speech, Wike observed that NDDC had become a cash cow for politicians. He accused the management of NDDC of sidelining the Niger Delta states in the execution of its projects. The governor said inclusion of the states would reduce the rampant incidence of abandoned projects across the region.

He said the commissioned project, which was supposed to be completed within one year, lasted about 10 years.

Wike stated, “NDDC has been a cash cow for politicians. You will see competition for position, because of political interest. The problem of NDDC is not just for the Niger Delta but the entire Nigeria.

“This project shouldn’t last one year if NDDC was committed to effective service delivery. There is no collaboration we have had with NDDC. And why would NDDC not be abandoning the project? You (NDDC) declare projects without conceptualisation, without funding, no commitment.

“My problem with NDDC is, no synergy with the mandate states. You distort the development plans of the states. Sometimes, you go into our schools, health centres to build. Who told you it is our priority?”

Wike, however, commended the Interim Sole Administrator of NDDC, Effiong Akwa, for his impactful effort so far in actualising development in the region since he assumed office.

Akpabio disclosed that NDCC was struggling to complete 13, 777 abandoned projects across the Niger Delta states. He noted that the region was the safest and most peaceful in the country.

The minister said, “The Niger Delta region is the most peaceful region to live and do business today. Everything will be done to ensure the completion of the East/West Road. Presently, we have 13,777 abandoned projects but we thank Mr. President for making this event (commissioning of the police quarter) possible.”

Usman, said, “The project demonstrates the (determination of the) leadership of the Niger Delta Ministry to support the effort of the police in security in the region.”

Maintaining that the outcome of the project would change the narrative of the police, he assured of the maintenance of the property. The Inspector General added that he would monitor usage of the building.

The building has one commander’s residence, one second-in-command’s residence, 64 one-bedroom flats, one armoury, underground cells, and gate house.

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