By CHIOMA IGBOKWE
The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris yesterday paid a scheduled visit to the corporate headquarters of The Sun Publishing Limited, Lagos, where he called for public support towards the establishment of a Police Trust Fund (PTF). He said this remains a viable means to fund police operations across the country.
The IGP who was accompanied by top members of the police hierarchy was received by the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of The Sun, Mr Eric Osagie with members of his management team. Explaining how he intends to tackle some of the challenges facing the police, IGP Idris noted that with about 298,000 workforce, the police needs about 155,000 more officers to adequately secure a nation of about 180m population in accordance with the UN minimum standard.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Osagie urged the police boss to see The Sun as a reliable partner in the quest to make the services of the police better and keep the nation safer. “We see the police as partners in progress; we also believe that yours is a calling like that of the media. It’s priesthood as it were. You are called to do it. Some of us know the challenges faced by the police.
“We want to commend the IGP because we do know that he is doing his best because no two systems are the same. No two IGPs face the same challenges, there are always peculiarities. As such, you can rest assured of our support as partners in our collective efforts to build a safer and prosperous nation.”
In his response, Idris acknowledged that the fastest way to get to the people is through the media. “We request that you continue to support us. The police cannot do without the people and how you get to the people is through the media. What we request are activities and actions that will enhance our image in the eyes of the public. We need to get feedbacks on how to serve the public better.
“I also want to use this opportunity to talk about the PTF that is before the National Assembly. It is an effort that will see to the enhancement of the funding of the police. The police budget cannot adequately address those challenges. Government has a lot of issues competing for the limited available fund. The best way to approach the funding of police is through trust funds. It’s going to be on frontline charge from the state and local government as well as business communities.”
On some other challenges facing the force, Idris said inadequate manpower seems to be most compelling. “The other challenge is manpower. We are just about 298,000 personnel expected to protect a population of 180m Nigerians. We need to add at least 155,000 police officers and our plan is to spread this recruitment for five years. With this addition, we hope to meet the United Nations approved ratio of one police officer to 400 persons.”
He also said that there are plans to create about 88 other Area Commands across the country and the objective is to bring the police closer to the people and also facilitate career progression for police officers.