Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu has decried that the personnel strength of the Force cannot cope with the current security challenges facing the country.
Adamu, who was represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Operations, Mr. Abdulmajid Ali, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs, with the theme ‘Repositioning the Nigeria Police for an Enhanced Delivery’.
He said that an a aggregation of the reports of the various Police Reform Committees under the current democratic dispensation indicated that the major challenges inhibiting optimal police service delivery included gross underfunding, inadequate personnel, poor remuneration and welfare regime, among others.
Adamu explained that a comparative analysis between Nigeria and South Africa Police showed that while in 2018 the South African police got 46.87 billion rand or N1.1372 trillion for visible policing programme with a 6.89 per cent growth projection up to 2021/2022 financial year, the Nigeria Police had to do with N35 billion appropriation and an eventual release of N20 billion for capital and overhead expenditure.
He stated: “Inadequate personnel to cope with the expanding and increasingly complex requirements of policing Nigeria’s growing population and crime profile. A strength of a about 302,000 police officers police a population of about 200,000,000 is definitely inadequate.”
Adamu noted that this runs short of UN standard for policing, stipulating a ratio of 1:350/400 people and called for “a sustainable recruitment of at least 50,000 personnel every year for the next 10 years to address the manpower inadequacy.”
He added that in Kenya for example, a Police Constables take home earning is about 34,907 Shilling or N126,000, whereas his Nigerian counterpart earns unfortunately less than N50,000, stressing that pitiably, this earning comes down to N12,000 to N18,000 of retirement.
Adamu said that the paucity of funds has over the years made it impossible for an average Police Officer to be adequately trained and retrained for an enhanced service delivery, saying that an improvement in this area would no doubt enhance professionalism in terms of weapons handling, investigation and human rights observance operational equipment deficiency
Adamu noted that not less than 1,000 Amoured Personnel Carriers (APCs); 250,000 assault rifles/corresponding ammunition, 2,000,000 tear gas canisters/smoke grenade, 200,000 Riot Gunners and Smoke Pistols, 1,000 Tracking Devices, 774 Operational Drones, among others are needed to cover the length and breadth of the nation’s infrastructural and Logistics Deficit Gap between the citizens and the Police .
He further called on the lawmakers to review obsolete laws regulating police functions and enactment of requisite laws to aid the police institutional and human capacity orientation, as well as optimal police service delivery in line with modern dictates.
On his part, a former IG and Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Alhaji Musiliu Smith said there was need to go beyond rhetorics by highlighting necessary measures to take that would certainly go a long way in ensuring earliest repositioning of Nigeria Police for enhanced service delivery.
He noted that the old tradition of ensuring proper vetting of prospective candidates during recruitment must be embraced again.
He said mental/ psychiatric test be included as part of conditions for recruitment into the Police to ensure that only people of sound mind find themselves into the force.
On his part, Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, stated categorically that the problem facing the police force started with President Muhammadu Buhari when he was a military Head of State in 1984.
He said: “All these problems we are discussing, honestly, I will not say, I’m fed up. I only thank God that this our present Head of State is trying to put the police into perspective now, because the problem of police started with him in 1984, that is the truth.
“The report of Babalakin Commission of Enquiry did not fight against security or anything. But the army thought Shagari was equipping the Striking Mobile Force to rival the army. There is no way the police can rival the army, they are better serviced and better equipped.”