Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd)
As the Federal Government sets up a committee to produce a white paper on the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on the Re-organisation of the Nigeria Police, Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd), Wednesday picked holes in its report.
The minister told State House reporters that the committee, headed by the Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC), Mr. Parry Osayande, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, went beyond its brief by advocating the scrapping of the ministry.
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday set up a committee, which will be chaired by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, to study the Osayande-committee report, submitted on Tuesday with a view to producing a white paper on it.
The presidential committee while submitting its report recommended the scrapping of the Ministry of Police Affairs because its existence denies the police of funds that should be directly managed by the Office of the Inspector General of Police (IG) to improve police efficiency.
It said the Ministry of Police Affairs has no particular assigned role in the 1999 Constitution nor is it in charge of police administration or operations.
However, Olubolade faulted the committee’s submissions, adding that contrary to its claim, the IG makes input into the process of dispensing the budget, while the ministry’s sole responsibility is to approve payments for contracts awarded by the Office of the IG.
According to him, the ministry is only involved in managing capital budgets, while the police which award contracts, manage all operational provisions.
He said: “One of the critical issues in our country today is about the insecurity in the land and you know Mr. President is very passionate about how we can quickly address this so that the police will be able to police Nigeria effectively and protect lives and property.
“As a result of that, Mr. President set up a committee led by Parry Osayande to reorganise the police. That committee should not be misconstrued or should not be confused with the earlier committee set up by the president to reorganise the ministries and restructure ministries and parastatals.
“What happened yesterday (Tuesday) was that this committee headed by Parry Osayande submitted its report to the president. Incidentally in the same vein, retired Inspectors-General of Police paid a visit to the president.
“Somehow, it got into the limelight that this issue of scrapping the Ministry of Police Affairs became an issue. But the assignment given to that panel was to look at how the police can be professionalised and reorganised.
“Usually, when an assignment like this is given, one must look at the subject. The subject is to reorganise the police and any issue discussed outside that can be termed to be derailed.
“Whatever assignment is given, you must look at the subject matter and stay within the confines so that it does not generate unusual discussion in the public.
“Be that as it may, in a fiat, Mr. President at the council today, constituted a committee to look at this report and produce a white paper which will help to address the matter very quickly because of the insecurity challenges we are facing in the nation.
“This committee will look at this report and advise the government accordingly and I think it is nice to wait for the outcome of that. The issue of scrapping the Ministry of Police Affairs, if it is in the report, will be looked at. And if it is not part of the assignment given, that also will be seen."
On Osayande’s comment that the ministry impedes the control of the police by the IG, Olubolade drew a parallel between the functions of the ministry and that of the Ministry of Defence.
“We have a Ministry of Defence. The Ministry of Defence exists overseeing the armed forces comprising the Army, Navy and Air Force. They all report to the Minister of Defence.
“All their budgetary provisions go through that line and the political head for them is the Minister of Defence. So also is the Ministry of Police Affairs.
“But the issue is that the assignment given is to look at how the police can be reorganised, the aspect of finance can come in any other form but the assignment is to look at how the police can become more professional,” he said.