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Senate orders probe of N135bn Police reform funds

By The Citizen

The Senate has directed its committee on Police Affairs to immediately commence the investigation of the management of the funds of N135 billion said to have been injected into the Nigeria Police in the last three years as part of measures to reform the force.

The said amount was said to have been allocated by President Goodluck Jonathan between 2011 and 2013 as a palliative measure to reform the Police Force following public outcry over its poor funding by previous administrations..

The committee is to report its findings to the Senators in the shortest possible time.

The Senate action came after heated debate on a motion tagged Reforming the Nigeria Police, brought before it by Senator Abubakar Tutare (PDP, Taraba Central), on the level of funding and implementation of the Nigeria Police Force Reform Programme.

Senator Tutare, who is the Vice Chairman of Senate Committee on Police Affairs, noted that over the years, the Nigeria Police was neglected in terms of offices, residential accommodation, kits, vehicles, arms and communication equipment.

He observed that arising from this development, the Federal Government initiated a Police Reform Programme to provide 'all it takes to overhaul the Police and make it more professional, effective and efficient in the discharge of their duties with a take-off grant of N75 billion.'

He said the government followed up with appropriation of N25 billion, N15 billion and N22 billion in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 budgets, respectively.

The Senator regretted that despite the take-off grant and the provision of a total of N57 billion appropriated between 2011 and 2013, 'there is still nothing to show that the reform agenda is ongoing in the Nigeria Police Force.'

Contributing earlier to the debate, Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba (PDP, Cross River Central), said beyond poor funding, the Nigeria Police was facing a problem which he referred to as 'structural defect,' noting that the situation called for the creation of state Police to ensure effective policing of the country.

He said: 'The mentality of the Police is still rooted in our colonial history. No matter how much you bring you are not going to change the Police.

'The idea of a single Police for all the country is inconsistent with a federal system. This motion affords us the opportunity to restructure the Police in line to what is obtainable in federalism.'

Senator Smart Adeyemi (PDP, Kogi West), said there was the need to review the way the Police funds were being managed to ensure adequate welfare for police personnel.