•Health minister recommends mental checkup for policemen
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Chairman Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Haliru Jika, said yesterday the long awaited Police Trust Fund would take off by January next year.
The Police Trust Fund bill was passed into law by the National Assembly in March and subsequently assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari in April.
Stakeholders have also called for the inauguration of the board and the setting up of the structure of the fund. They had called on the president to effect the appointments of board members and members of the implementation committee in order to fill the gaps in the funding requirements of the Police Force.
This is coming as the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, recommended a six-monthly mental checkup for officers and men of the Nigerian Police.
Speaking at a medical conference with zonal and heads of medical facilities across the country themed: “Addressing Job related Stress and Mental Health of Police Personnel,” organised by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Adamu Mohammed, Senator Jika said the Police Trust Fund would take off in January.
He said the fund would go a long way in improving the welfare and wellbeing of the police.
“I commend the IG for what he has done in transforming the Nigerian Police. I want to assure you that as legislators we are resolved to interface with the Nigerian Police, to work on legislative interventions that will bring about improved welfare of the officers and men of the force.
“In line with the presidential agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari for the next level, he has graciously approved and signed into law the Police Trust Fund Bill. This will go a long way in making sure that the welfare and the wellbeing of the Nigerian Police is assured and which I believe will take off next year January,” he said.
The PTF would be funded by a levy of 0.005 per cent of the net profit of companies operating in Nigeria, 0.5 per cent of the total revenue from the federation account, any take off grant and special intervention fund as may be provided by the federal, state and local government and such money as may be appropriated to meet the objective of the Act by the National Assembly.
Other funding sources include aids, grants and assistance from international, bilateral and multilateral agencies, non-governmental organisations and the private sector in addition to grants, donations and investments made by the fund.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has recommended a six-monthly medical checkup for police personnel.
He said in view of the increasing crime rate in Nigeria, the policemen were exposed to exhaustion and mental health issues.
“You work under very stressfully conditions especially now with the increased rate of crime notably kidnapping, armed robbery and other vices. Police is in the forefront of waging the war against these criminal elements in the country,” he said.
He added: “In this wise, they are prone to not only physical exhaustion but also mental health issues. This does not mean madness as the layman may see it, no. When we talk about health, the true definition of health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing so it is important as police officers to present yourselves to your doctors for complete medical checkup.”
The minister said the police force would also do well to inculcate six-monthly medical checkup.
In his remarks, the IG, Mohammed, said policing was a physically, mentally and psychologically demanding career.
He said: “The job-related stress and constant exposure to traumatic incidents in the line of our highly-risky duties can impact negatively on the mental and overall health of Police personnel.
“The Nigeria Police Medical Services must, therefore, consistently strengthen its institutional and personnel capacity to respond in the most professional manner to this occupational reality in order to ensure that police personnel are fit at all times for optimal performance of their statutory duties.”
Earlier, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, (AIG) Obembe Modupe, who is also the Force Medical Officer, said the 300,000 police personnel across the country worked round the clock, while noting that increased responsibility in policing has become more challenging and strenuous in recent times.