Open Letter To SGF: Time To Audit The Nigeria Police Force
Open Letter To SGF
Barr Boss Gidahyelda Mustapha
Secretary to the Government of the Federation
The Office of the SGF, Shehu Shagari Complex
Three Arms Zone, Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
Via: [email protected]
Time To Audit The Nigeria Police Force
The attention of your public office is drawn to a fresh and bogus expenditure request by the Nigeria Police Force through IGP, Adamu Abubakar. The request was specifically made and directed to the House of Reps committee on Police Affairs for approval or appropriation in the 2020 budget of whopping N944.9b or roughly N1trillion to the NPF to enable the Force “carry out its operations across the country”. Details of the bogus request were reported by the Sunday Punch Newspaper of today, 1st March 2020.
Intersociety had earlier in its statement condemned in strongest terms the NPF request and called on the authorities of the Force to grow beyond archaic policing and embrace ICT and skillful policing. It remains our strong insistence that Nigeria presently has enough number of police personnel to police anywhere in the country if only it could jettison its age-long archaic, divisive, clannish, barbarous and ‘born-before-computer’ policing and make triumphant inroad into ‘man-mental-machine’ policing. Our earlier position on the issue is also contained in the Sunday Punch Newspaper report under reference. See the link here: https://punchng.com/police-need-n944-9bn-to-protect-nigerians-says-ig/?fbclid=IwAR3MkjD592eyk-YOWQLpZ902DVnyToYC2Y1yGlmfzwCj3FL2HIL2-2dkqKE
As you are aware, Sir, our writing your office this time and openly is in consonance with powers and functions vested in you. As the SGF, your office coordinates the activities of Ministries and Government Agencies on the implementation of Government decisions, policies and programs dealing with constitutional, political and socio-economic matters. Your office is also entrusted with ‘investigative’ powers including coordinating ‘administrative tribunals, commissions and panels of enquiry’ as well as coordinating national security and safety matters. These are among the fifteen functions statutorily allocated to your office.
Our decision to write your public office is not because the OSGF is the appropriating authority or House of Reps or Senate; but because the IGP’s bogus request has thrown up issues warranting your attention and immediate intervention so as to clear some doubts, unearth some ugly developments in the Force and restore public confidence. Among worrying issues thrown up in the bogus request package included rogue statistics, duplicity, suspected ‘conflict profiteering’ and irrelevancies.
As contained in the detailed report by the Punch Newspaper (Sunday Punch), the IGP had last Tuesday, Feb 25, 2020 appeared before the House Committee on Police Affairs, claiming acute shortage of personnel or man power and policing equipments including weapons and operational vehicles. In the end, he demanded for a sharp increase in police personnel and procurement of equipments nearing N1trillion or $3.3b. It must be reminded that the sum proposed for the NPF in the 2020 was earlier pegged at N408b or about $1.3b.
Why We Demanded For Comprehensive Audit Of The NPF
Contradictions On Exact Number Of Personnel In The Force:
Sir, inherent contradictions abound. The NPF said it has 370,000 or 371, 800 personnel and to the Police Service Commission, “it is about 350,000”. To the newly established Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) of the Office of the Account General of the Federation, “it is 291, 685 from 42 commands and formations of the NPF” as at 2018.
No Reliable Data Concerning NPF’s Weapons & Ammunitions
While the NPF is demanding for additional 250, 000 rifles and associated munitions, 1,819 APCs, 1,819 water cannons, 200, 000 riot gunners and smoke pistols, 2m tear gas canisters, 1000 tracking devices and 774 operational drones, among others; Nigerians are not aware of existence of any reliable data in the Force concerning number of weapons and ammunitions in the armories of the NPF. Owing to the fact that they were purchased and maintained with tax payers’ or public funds, auditing of same is a must and inexcusable.
Use & Safety Question Regarding The Existing Weapons In The NPF
There is also no credible database showing what the existing weapons are being used for, their safety and condition. In other words, it is very difficult to say whether they are used within or outside the law and whether they are safely or porously managed or warehoused.
Bogus Request & Serious Suspicion Of ‘Conflict Profiteering’
The IGP’s request as highlighted above is nothing short of bogus and frivolous demands. It also raises serious suspicion of ‘conflict profiteering’ or using the situation of insurgency and other forms of insecurity in the country as ‘conduit pipe’ to further deepen and rotten Nigeria into the class of ‘highly unsecured and indebted poor country’. Demanding for 250,000 additional rifles for instance, is a clear attempt to make Nigeria a ‘future Afghanistan’ where it is cheaper to buy an assault or AK-47 rifle than to buy a loaf of bread. Policing in Nigeria is supposed to be rested on 80% ICT and mental or skillful poling and 20% gun policing.
Request For 1,915 Patrol Vehicles Trailed By Duplicity & Roguery
The IGP’s request for 1,915 patrol vehicles for its “267 police area commands, 1,489 divisional headquarters, 37 State headquarters and 12 zonal commands”; independently put at over N56b is not only sheer duplicity but also tantamount to environmental pollution and insecurity. As a matter of fact, the demand is roguish and unnecessary because it is on record that the NPF receives several thousands of donated patrol vehicles every year. Such donations routinely come from most, if not all the 36 State Govs and the FCT. In 2019, for instance, over 100 police patrol vans were donated to the NPF by the Government of Anambra State.
Also, most, if not all patrol vans used by NPF in protecting VIPs and multi millionaire and billionaire companies are donated, fueled and maintained by such VIPs and companies. This is in addition to billions of naira paid by the companies to the NPF authorities. The demand for N194.4m for weekly or N770m monthly fueling or dieseling of the 1,915 patrol vans is also bogus, corruptive and duplicative. This is more so when available records clearly indicate that most of the police patrol vans attached to divisional, area, state and zonal commands of the NPF are fueled and maintained using illicit proceeds generated from roadblock/roadway and captivity extortion.
N28.5M Quoted For Each Police Patrol Van Is Roguish
Apart from a brand new “High Impact” or “VIP” Hilux Truck being sold at N21m-N22m, no ‘Nigeria Police modeled Pick-up Van’ is sold at “28.5m” anywhere in Nigeria. Our checks at various automobile websites including ‘INNOSON’, clearly attest to this fact. We also spoke with a number of ‘brand new’ and ‘Belgium’ car (pick-up van) dealers across the country and it was correctly found that a ‘Nigeria Police modeled Pick-up Van’ or patrol van is sold between N7m and N15m; and not “N28.5M”.
It is as a result of these confusions, contradictions, ‘economical facts’ and duplicities that we are calling on you, the SGF, to do the needful by conducting and coordinating a comprehensive audit in the Nigeria Police Force. This, we respectfully prayed, shall be done as a matter of uttermost urgency and extreme public importance. The audit under demand shall enable Nigerians know the true state of things in the Force.
Summarily, Nigerians want to know the actual number of personnel in the Force and weapons including their types in use and how they are maintained. What happens to the safety of such weapons is also important to Nigerians. Nigerians are itching to further know the number and type of vehicles or vans being donated to the NPF by Govs, VIPs and profit oriented institutions as well as how much they are paying the Force monthly and the whereabouts of same when paid.
In a follow-up story published by the Sunday Punch Newspaper of today, Sunday, 1stMarch 2020, the respected Newspaper disclosed the full details of the IGP’s complaint and request to include: gross underfunding, occasioned by inadequate budgetary appropriation and non release of the limited appropriated funds.
Others are: deployment of six helicopters to six geopolitical zones including their repairs, lubricants, servicing and spare parts, all at the cost of N3.05b; and police marine section involving acquisition of combat patrol launch and armored boats including 15 units of (12m) armored gunboats (N230m each), 15 units of (14m) armored gunboats (N265m each) and 10 units of M16 gunboats (N285m each), all at total the cost of N21.6b.
The rest are: acquisition of operational vehicles involving 1,819 APCs (armored personnel carriers) at N150m each, 1,819 water cannons at N170m each, 1,915 patrol vehicles (pick up vans) at N28.5m each and commensurate number of vans with cameras at N29.7m each; all totaling N696.8b. To fuel the said 1,915 patrol vehicles, whopping N194.4m (or 1,28m litres of fuel) was requested for their fueling and dieseling per week while cost of maintaining them during the same period was put at N1.83b. Also requested for funding are ‘monitoring and evaluation’ which would gulp N247.4m.
The IGP further claimed that the patrol vehicles, when purchased, “will be distributed to 267 police area commands, 1, 489 divisional headquarters, 37 State headquarters and 12 zonal commands of the Force across the country, while 10 APCs, 10 water cannons, 100 patrol vans and 100 vans with cameras will be kept and reserved”. The PSC, on its part, claimed that “2,866 ASPs to DIGs retired from the Force in 2019” and that “the current strength of the NPF, put at about 350,000 is grossly inadequate to police the country”. The PSC requested for increase of the Force strength to “at least 500, 000 within the next two years”.
For: Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., Chinwe Umeche, Esq., and Comrade Samuel Kamanyaoku
Mobile/Whatsapp Line: +2348174090052
Email: [email protected]