Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday charged members of the Police Service Commission (PSC) to redouble their efforts in ensuring that the Nigeria Police Force delivers on its responsibilities.
This is even as the Commission has said the problem of inadequate funding has continued to persist, thereby putting the Commission at a disadvantage.
Buhari spoke in Abuja while receiving the 2018 Annual Report of the Commission, noting that, “the Commission has the most challenging responsibility of carrying out oversight responsibilities of the Police Force,” according to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina,.
“The people that comprise this Commission are mostly personally known to me and some of them have been through the mill, as it were, therefore I expect them to put the Police in order. I personally believe that the Inspector General is doing his best …the Police are always in the frontline and unless we get the police working effectively, the security of this country will remain in doubt.”
The President said that, by the mandate of the Commission, the task of appointment, promotion and disciplinary control of officers of the Nigeria Police, except the Inspector General, fall under it.
“Your assignment is enormous and calls for sacrifice and commitment, especially now that almost every country is faced with severe internal security challenges. Nigeria is no exception,” the President remarked.
The President went on to commend the Commission for new ideas introduced into the workings of the Force, saying: “I am aware that you have put policies in place to reposition the Police Force in the areas of merit-driven promotion and prompt disciplinary actions. Government will require that you redouble your efforts and ensure that the Police Force receives the required assistance for optimum service delivery.”
He also called on the Commission to ensure a harmonious working relationship with the Police Force.
“I wish to see close communication and understanding between you and the Nigeria Police. This is necessary for the overall efficiency and effectiveness in securing the country,” said the President.
Earlier in his address, Chairman of the Commission Musiliu Smith noted that the envelope system of federal budgeting has left the Commission always financially crippled and unable to attend adequately to its very important constitutional responsibilities.
The Commission, he said, has continued to face the reality of inadequate funds to verify and conduct the processes leading to recruitment, promotion and discipline.
The Chairman of the Commission added that the Establishment Act of 2001 has also not helped in the operations of the Commission as certain provisions of the enabling act have continued to frustrate the attainment of optimum performance by the Commission.
“Most glaring are the fewness of full time members and the poor remuneration of the staff of the Commission in relation to other Commissions in the Federation,” said one-time Inspector General of Police Smith.
“It is interesting to note that Commission staff are paid salaries lower than their counterparts in the Nigeria Police Force which the Commission oversees,” the Chairman added.
Smith regretted that the Commission has also not been able to complete work on its corporate headquarters in Jabi, Abuja, thus leaving it with a serious office accommodation crisis. This has made it difficult for effective control and monitoring of staff who are scattered in offices located in the Federal Secretariat Complex in Abuja, he observed.
He said that the Commission has steadily confronted its constitutional mandate with resolute zeal and commitment, in spite of its debilitating constraints.
Smith said that, regardless of the challenges, the Commission is determined to give the country the police force it desires and would be proud of.
“At no time, even in the face of odds, will it shirk this very important responsibility,” he said of the Commission.
Smith, who led other members to the State House, had intimated the President that, in line with his (President’s) specific directives, PSC management was gradually putting together a productive Nigeria Police Force which will enjoy the endorsement of all Nigerians and also receive the acclaim of the police officers themselves.