Reps Investigate Police Equipment Procurement

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ABUJA, Feb 22, (THEWILL) - The House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs today said it would soon commence investigations into the procurement of equipment for the Nigerian Police Force in the 2010 budget, which is expected to lapse on March 31.

Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Abdul Ningi (PDP/Bauchi), who disclosed this when the ministry appeared before the committee for budget defence session, said the parliament was worried by the trend of low capital budget releases to the Ministry by the Budget and Procurement offices in the Presidency.

Ningi noted that there was need for a review and investigations into the underlying reasons for the dismal releases.

He said, “This Committee is saddened by the fact that only 29.9% of the 2010 budget of the Police Ministry is released in spite of the growing insecurity in the country. While it is our view that the amount appropriated for police is meager, the Federal Government has even released more meager percentage of what was appropriated.

“We (lawmakers) are even saddened by the fact that over 90 percent of what was appropriated for recurrent (salaries) is released, while the bulk of capital is not released. And because of these facts, this committee is in particular, going to focus on the following in its oversight in the coming week or two: We would take a tour of all Nigerian Police formations in Abuja and Lagos to ascertain the number of equipment purchased, the newness of the equipment, the arms and ammunition procured under the normal police budget,” Ningi assured.

Earlier, the Minister of Police Affairs, Mr. Humphrey Abba had told the committee that N229.9billion was budgeted in 2010 out of which the recurrent was N174.5billion, Overhead: N5.69billion, Capital: N39.6billion. He explained that only N5.3billion, N4.6 and N6.4 billion of the capital were released in the first, second and third quarters while nothing was released in the fourth quarter.

He lamented that most of the capital projects under the Ministry were yet to be implemented and attributed it to “the non-release of capital funds, botched contractual agreements, and liabilities incurred which are not in consonance with amounts released.

The minister submitted that the trend has adversely affected the performance of the 2010 budget adding that the diversion of N729 billion federal government contribution to the Police Reform Programme to the Service wide Vote has affected the programme.