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N2.92bn fraud rocks police training schools

By The Citizen
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Thousands of police recruits who were trained in Lagos, Kaduna and Orji River police colleges might have been shortchanged to the tune of N2.92bn, our investigation has shown.

A total of 2,900 recruits were trained at the Police College, Ikeja and 1,900 at the Orji River Police College, Enugu State.

A figure of 3,000 was reported as being the number of trainees in Kaduna.

These last set of recruits were trained for 15 months at the three police colleges and they graduated in December 2012. The recruits were at the training schools from between October 2011 to December 2012.

Investigations showed that each of the recruits were entitled to N25, 000 as their allowances but they were paid a paltry N3,000.

Checks conducted by our correspondents revealed that the police authorities had been paying N2,500 to recruits since 1999 when the salary of a fresh police constable was N5,000.

The police authorities in charge of training did not explain to the recruits how the N25,000 was spent and how they came to the decision to pay N3,000 per month as allowances.

It was gathered that N22, 000 was deducted from each of the trainees on the grounds that they were not supposed to cook in the hostels, even though they were to feed themselves.

As a result of the law against cooking in the hostels, the police authorities were said to have organised a central cooking arrangement to feed the trainees.

However, it was learnt that the recruits were poorly fed while undergoing the training programme.

A recent television documentary on the Ikeja Police College aired on Channels Television revealed the scandalous poor feeding arrangement of police trainees.

Our correspondents learnt that a former Inspector General of Police changed the erstwhile arrangement where trainees were fed by the government to the present arrangement where money for recruits are deducted from source without their knowledge and consent, under the guise of feeding them.

Police sources could not explain why the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, had not changed the current arrangement which fleeces police of their funds.

A recruit who recently graduated from Police College, Kaduna, said, 'Throughout our stay in the college, we were paid N3,000 every month and I learnt that, that was the amount given to other recruits in other police colleges. But if indeed it is true that we were supposed to get N25,000 , it means the officials have really short-changed us and the IG should probe the matter.

'At times they would pay us N3,200, N3,300 but the highest they paid was N3,400.'

It was gathered that the senior police officers officials in the Ministry of Police Affairs may know about the sleaze in the police colleges. A ministry official who did not want his name mentioned, said the Police Force and the Police Service Commission should be held responsible for the fraud.

'The Police Affairs Ministry doesn't have anything to do with recruitment or payment of police officers; that is between the Nigeria Police and the PSC which recruits, promotes and disciplines policemen,' the source said.

However, a senior PSC official, who pleaded anonymity,  claimed that the payment of policemen was purely the business of the ministry, adding that the cheating of police recruits should be laid at the door step of the ministry.

Efforts made to contact the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, were not successful as the calls placed to his mobile telephone line indicated that it was switched off.

Also, Mba did not respond to text messages sent to him.(Punch)