Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd)
By Dele Ogbodo and Yemi Akinsuyi
President Goodluck Jonathan Tuesday set up a committee to probe all monies received by the police, either through donations or appropriation for renovation and upgrade of its training institutions from 2009 to 2012.
The setting up of the committee came on the heels of the president’s visit last Friday to the Police College, Ikeja, which is in a state of decay because of prolonged neglect by successive administration.
It also coincided with a meeting in Abuja between the Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd), and Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, over the state of police training institutions.
The establishment of the committee and the president’s visit to the 73-year-old institution are the fallout of the footage of a documentary aired by Channels Television last week to draw attention to the decay in the college.
A statement from the presidency said the 11-member committee will be chaired by the Director, Special Duties with a representative of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) as vice-chairman.
Other members of the committee, which has until January 29 to submit its report are: Director, Finance and Accounts; Director, PID; Director, PSD; three representatives of NPF, legal adviser, Head of Budget Division, Head of Internal Audit, Head of External Audit and Secretary PRS.
The committee, among other terms of reference, will ascertain the amount of funds appropriated by the Federal Government to the police for the renovation/upgrade of its training institutions between 2009 and 2012 and total donations received during the period.
It will also examine the budget proposed/appropriated to the NPF for the institutions between 2009 and 2012 as well as verify the utilisation of the funds.
As part of the efforts to redress the situation at the police colleges, Olubolade met with the IG and other top police officers on how to find immediate solutions to the lapses that led to the neglect of the training institutions.
Answering reporters’ questions after the meeting, the minister said: “I’m here to follow up and interact with the IG and his management team to look at the lapses that may exist and how to surmount it because it is a joint effort and I think it is critical to do that.
“Ordinarily, I would have called this meeting at the ministry but once I have a management team with them, sometimes I like to do less stretching and come around and see progress, and he (IG) is making some progress in certain areas. I will also want to have a look at them.”
The minister pledged the government’s commitment to reposition the NPF, adding that the government was working round the clock to address every issue that had to do with the optimum performance of the police.
On his visit to the Presidential Villa on Monday, he said: “I went to the presidency to see the Chief of Staff and that is a regular routine thing that we do because Mr. President is also away.
“I also made a similar visit to the vice-president’s office, so that at both ends if there are issues that pertain to the police, I would like to know and hear about it.”
A retired Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of Operations, Mr. Adedayo Adeoye, however, blamed the rot in the police on past military officers appointed to man the Ministry of Police Affairs.
He accused the ministers of fighting the police they were appointed to protect and develop.
“The problem of the rot in the police started from the time of David Jemibewon, a retired military officer, to that of Godwin Abe, and the present minister, Caleb Olubolade. They are all retired military officers, who concerned themselves with promotions.
“Anytime there is assistance for the police, the organisation or governor would first inform the Police Affairs Minister, who would quickly inform his constituent, the military, and they in turn would quickly seek for the same assistance, thereby reducing drastically what is meant for the police alone.
“On a daily basis, they keep rendering the police powerless and equipping the military for the job of policing,” the retired police boss stated.
In the meantime, Channels Television has postponed the launch of its intervention programme to mobilise assistance for the upgrade of the Police College, Ikeja.
The General Manager Operations (GMO) of Channels Television, Mr. Kayode Akintemi, explained that the postponement was done to get the involvement of every stakeholder who is essential in the rebuilding of the police academy.