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FG underfunded police by N1.1tn in five years –IG

By The Citizen
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The Federal Government underfunded the Nigeria Police Force to the tune of about N1.1tn in five years, further weakening the capacity of the police to perform their duties.

These details were obtained from a document on 2016 budget, which the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, submitted to the House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs in Abuja.

The PUNCH learnt on Sunday that neither the funding of the capital projects of the police nor the overheads had risen beyond N11bn between 2011 and 2015, compared to actual funding requirement of up to N71bn for overheads and N345.7bn for capital projects in the case of 2015 for example.

Findings indicated that while the police needed N1.175tn between 2011 and 2015 for effective policing of the country, the government released a paltry N67.9bn to the police for both capital projects and overheads in the years under review.

For instance, as against the total of N891.1bn that the police required for capital projects, the government released only N36.7bn, while the police got N31.2bn for overheads as against the required N284.5bn.

The document stated that the steady decline in police budget did not put into consideration the fact that the organisation was expanding in scope and operations across the five years.

It noted, 'The Force has been expanding both in geographical spread and numerical strength over the years. As of January 2016, there are 317,540 police and traffic wardens and 10,849 civilian members of staff spread across the country in 12 zonal, 36 states and FCT, 127 Area Commands, 1,332 Divisions, 1,579 police stations and 3,756 police posts.

'Expectedly, this growth should naturally come along with a commensurate funding, unfortunately, allocation in respect of overheads and capital budgets over the years have failed to meet this expectation.'

A year-by-year analysis of the underfunding showed that in 2011, the police required N46.7bn for overheads, but received only N5.5bn. The capital component did not fare better, with only N6.4bn released out of a budget of N57.9bn.

In 2012, the Force received N8.1bn out of the required N52.3bn for its overheads. The capital budget was slashed from N49.9bn to N7bn.

The trend continued in 2013, where overheads requirement was N56.6bn, but the police was paid N7.9bn.

The highest allocation to the police for capital projects across the five years was N11bn in 2013. Ironically, the requirement for that year was N218.8bn.

In 2014, while overheads requirement was N56.6bn, the government released N5.2bn. For capital projects, it provided only N3.4bn (the lowest) out of a funding requirement of N218.8bn.

Being an election and transition year, the police had budgeted N71.8bn for overheads in 2015 but ended up getting only N4.8bn from the government. For the capital, the Force required N345.7bn but was given an envelope containing N8.9bn.

Arase lamented that, faced with the huge funding gap, it became increasingly challenging for many commands to fuel vehicles for operations or render other urgent services.

Citing the case of 2015, the IG wrote, 'In the case of overheads appropriation, the total appropriation of N5.8bn, which was not even enough to fuel the fleet of police operational vehicles at an average minimal fuel consumption of 30 litres per day for seven months, was not fully released.

'Unfortunately, out of this amount, the sum of N250.1m was deducted at source for outstanding electricity bills, while the balance of N806.8m was not released.'

The document indicated that the funding constraints would worsen this year, as the total budget of the police for 2016 was put at N300.1bn.

This is broken into N17bn for capital projects; N4.5bn for overheads; and N278.5bn.

Incidentally, the police will need N18.5bn to fuel and maintain 8,698 vehicles, 2,937 motorcycles and 1,448 diesel engines this year.

The document observed that, by implication, the 'N4.5bn projected for all sub-heads in the overheads for police formations and commands in the 2016 budget is not even enough to provide minimal fuelling and maintenance cost for police operational vehicles for three months.' Punch