The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Center (RULAAC) in conjunction with the Nigerian Police Project (NPP), at a recently held roundtable discussion in Lagos, have called on government to properly fund the police budget, as part of the ongoing reform in the sector.
In his address, the Executive Director, RULAAC, Okechukwu Nwanguma, posited that discussions around police budget in Nigeria which hinges on inadequate resourcing, poor budgetary allocation, delay or incomplete release of appropriated funds or issues of corruption etc have negatively impacted on police effectiveness and public perception.
According to him, “all these negatively impacted on police effectiveness and public perception. The civil society on police reform in 2012 found that funding of the police is among the issues critical to improving police effectiveness and public confidence in the Nigerian police.
“According to the panel finding, ‘the current state of funding the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) is challenging at different levels, including low budgetary allocation, incomplete release of budgeted funds, all of which make planning in the NPF a difficult enterprise’.
“In 2008, the presidential committee on police reform headed by M.D. Yusuf recommended an estimate of N2.8 trillion to effectively reform and transform the Nigerian police for a period of five years, a sum which, at the time, translated to N560 billion annually.
“Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in December 2017, while declaring open the public hearing on the Police Trust Fund bill, said that the Nigerian police ‘is the most underfunded in the world as well as the most underfunded agency of government in Nigeria’.
“There is also what has been described as the ‘political dimension of resources allocation in Nigeria’. Some MDA’s are said to have powerful voices pushing for better funding for them unlike the police who has been described as ‘an orphan’.
“Typically, overhead and capital costs take the least portion of police annual budgets while personnel costs take the chunk.
“For the 2018 fiscal year for example, the NPF submitted a N332 billion budget. Only about 10 per cent of the budget covered overhead and capital costs. The remaining 90 percent was specifically for personnel costs for the service.
“The NPF as at the most recent update of its normal roll in December 2017 had a personnel strength of 300,892. This consists of core police personnel, traffic wardens and civilian staff. They are spread across the 12 zones of the NPF, 37 state commands and FCT, 128 area commands, 1388 divisional commands, 1579 police stations and 3756 police posts.
“Records indicate that the NPF recruited last in 2011, until President Muhammodu Buhari came on board and ordered the recruitment of 10,000 policemen and women in 2016.
“Yet numbers of police officers are depleted every day, with death in the line of duty; natural causes and retirement from service.
“Because budgetary allocations do not reasonably trickle down to the zonal, state and local command levels, the police at those levels resort to illicit means of generating funds.”
Nwanguma however concluded that, There is a close nexus between security and development and it is our belief that once the police is adequately funded, the problem of insecurity in the country would be effectively tackled and once there is security in the country, required development in the country would be achieved.”
Also speaking the pioneer executive secretary, Lagos state Security Trust Fund, Mr. Akintunde Oyebode said until we stop to see Nigeria as a wealthy country, we can never tackle the issue of budget funding in the security sector, hence the need for other sources of funding aside government budget.
He however encouraged the federal government to ensure the complete release of total amount allocated to the Nigerian police force in every budgetary year, even as they look towards improved budgetary allocation for the sector.
He likewise urged the police force to look towards other sources of funding aside government allocation, such as police lottery funds and call for voluntary donations from well meaning Nigerians to the force, as practiced in developed societies, for a better policing in Nigeria.