…Lagos alone spent N4.765b in 2015
…Says, ‘IGP demanded N3trn in 2017’
…Push for state police
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Governors of the 36 states of the federation have disclosed that they had collectively expended over N2 trillion in augmenting police operations nationwide in the last decade alone.
Head, Media and Public Affairs, Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) Secretariat, Abdulrazaque Barkindo, said this is excluding contributions of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe states, hitherto referred to as the frontline states having virtually been the theatres of war and critical flashpoints at the peak of the war against insurgency in the country.
According to the statement, this revelation came following a research conducted by the media department of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and published in its July edition of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat’s monthly magazine ‘The Executive Summary’.
“The purchases by the governors have covered such items as Hilux trucks, Armoured Personnel carriers, Helicopters, River Gun Boats, Horses, Communication equipment, uniforms and handcuffs among others.
The report titled, ‘State Police: The Time is Now,’ revealed that in 2015 alone Lagos State under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode spent over N4.765 billion on helping to sustain the Federal Police.
The report further revealed that in subsequent years, the state also bought and donated to the police, 100 4-door Saloon cars, 55 Ford Ranger Pick-up trucks, 10 Toyota Land Cruiser Pick-up trucks, 15 BMW power-bikes, 100 Isuzu trucks, three helicopters, two gunboats, 15 Armoured Personnel Carriers, revolving lights, sirens, communication gadgets, helmets, handcuffs, among many other police requirements.
Babatunde Fashola, during his tenure as Lagos State governor, also donated 50 patrol vehicles, 10 Armoured Personnel carriers, 100 walkie-talkies and 200 bullet-proof jackets apart from the establishment of an ICT Resource Centre for the police in Lagos State.
Aside Lagos, other states that had donated generously at various times to the police are, Kano, Kaduna, Kwara, Cross Rivers, Ebonyi and Abia states, in a bid to ensure the safety and security of their peoples and their property.
The report which contained tabulation detailing expenditure and donations made to the police by more than 20 states, also captured the lamentations of some of the state governors who said in spite of these donations they have been unable to enjoy even the partial loyalty of the federal police at their most critical hour of need.
Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State was quoted as having said that “I am sitting here as governor, but I cannot control one police troop whenever crises break in my state.”
The report also captured Zamfara State governor and Chairman of the NGF, Abdulaziz Yari had, who in frustration at a point, relinquished his position as the Chief Security Officer of his state.
The report added that even Benue State, which, very recently, had its state Assembly sealed and overtaken by the personnel of the Police, had spent a substantial part of its security vote in ameliorating the problems of the same police force that was to later humiliate the state.
“The governors through the instrumentality of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum view this situation as absolutely unacceptable.
“It is for these and several other reasons that the governors have been agitating for the creation of state police so that the safety of lives and property in the country would be firmly rested in the hands of those who spend their resources in sustaining the police force.
“Indeed, to give spice to the argument for the agitation of the states, the National Assembly only recently lent its voice to the agitation by state governors and also endorsed the formation of state police, saying it is about time. Most others who canvas the same position as the governors allude to the countries whose system Nigeria is emulating, saying community policing is a necessity if crime is to be prevented and insurgency is to be curtailed to the barest minimum,” the statement read.
The report also in response to fears that governors would abuse the privilege if given, quoted Governor Mohammed Abdullahi of Bauchi State, as arguing that those who hold that view are fearful because they have restricted their thinking to building individuals rather than building institutions.
The report also revealed that in July 2017, the IG had approached the Nigeria Governors’ Forum at their meeting in Aso Rock Villa seeking cap-in-hand, the sum of N3 trillion as assistance from states.
The report also stated that most states of the federation have already resorted to supporting vigilante groups and some have even gone further to establish various types of self-help security formations like the Bakasi Boys in Abia, KAI in Lagos, Civilian JTF in the northeast, Karota in Kano and several others that fill the vacuum created by the absence of the federal police in their states.