By Christopher Oji
There has been anxiety in the Nigeria Police Force on account of the overall state of the security service as regards welfare packages, lack of equipment, shortage of resources, parlous state of barracks and dilapidated structures nationwide.
Many months after the #EndSARS protests and accompanying riots that saw police stations and departments set ablaze across the country, especially in Lagos, the affected buildings housing offices and cells are still in ruins. Policemen have been compelled to rent canopies to perform their duties. Many of the officers who spoke to Daily Sun lamented how difficult it has been for them to work under the current gory conditions. They added that they could never perform optimally because of the hard conditions that they are subjected to.
A senior police officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he was not supposed to speak with the press said: “We were told that, with the introduction of Nigeria Police Trust Fund by the Federal Government, some of the challenges would be surmounted, but nothing has changed for good.
“We are facing many problems in the force. More police stations, especially in the South-East, are being attacked and set ablaze by bandits, adding to the ones that were burnt during the EndSARS protest. We lost many rifles, ammunition, patrol vehicles and some other police accouterments. We lack armoured personnel carriers, water cannons, smokes, teargas, et cetera.
“It is the duty of the police high command to rejig the security trust fund, but we don’t know what is happening with the fund.”
Meanwhile, the executive secretary of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (NPTF), Hon. Aliyu Ahmed Sokoto, on his visit to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), recently, said that the NPTF had kicked off and was garnering support from agencies that would assist the fund.
Sokoto said the quest to garner support for the NPTF made him and the management team visit the NPA, where they were received by the managing director, Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman. The MD of the NPA assured the NPTF’s chief executive of the ports authority’s support to help realize the mandate of the NPTF.
She said, “The NPA will support you in every way it can, even beyond our mandate, but also as individuals, to build a police force that will provide the attendant security needed.”
She also charged the executive secretary to expedite action on executing the mandate of NPTF: “Do what you can within the shortest period to show relevance within the sector, within the shortest possible time. Being the pioneer executive secretary, a lot falls on your shoulders and it is an opportunity for you to show your capacity within the huge responsibility you’re faced with.”
Earlier, in his address, Mr. Sokoto stated that the purpose of his visit to NPA was to intimate the organisation about the mandate of the NPTF and solicit collaboration that would enhance the fulfillment of NPTF’s mandate as stipulated in the NPTF Act 2020: “The purpose of my visit is to keep you abreast of the mandate and the activities of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund as well as to seek close working relationship between our organisation and the Nigerian Ports Authority.
“The trust fund is envisioned to build a well-trained, well-equipped and well-motivated police force that will be prompt and responsive to security challenges, in line with best global practices.
“NPTF’s mission is to provide critical needs that will ensure overall improvement and efficiency as (police) discharge their duties and responsibilities of the Nigeria Police Force and its auxiliary colleges and institutions.
“The sources of the fund to NPTF include 0.05% of total revenue from the Federation Account, a levy of 0.005% of net profits of all companies operating in Nigeria, grants, special intervention funds as may be provided by the National Assembly in the budget, endowments, donations, aid and other assistance from the private sector and development partners, as well as monies derived from investment on the fund of the NPTF.
“The fund is to be utilised for the training and retraining of personnel of the Nigeria Police Force within and outside the country, the purchase of equipment and material needs of the police like operational vehicles and construction of police infrastructure such as offices, barracks and quarters.”
Mr. Sokoto similarly solicited support from agencies such as the NPA as well as individuals, as he explained that the monies accruing to the NPTF were inadequate to meet the enormous challenges of rebuilding the Nigeria Police Force and the myriad of security challenges across Nigeria.
“Presently, the trust fund depends substantially on the revenue accruing from the Federation Account for the implementation of these programmes and activities, and cannot sustain the trust fund and the attainment of the mandate,” Sokoto said.
He used the medium to canvass cooperation and intervention of revenue agencies like NPA in the implementation of projects and programmes of the Nigeria Police.
In 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act into law. The act is an intervention instrument to provide funding for a well-trained, well-equipped and motivated Nigeria Police Force.
It is generally believed that the Nigeria Police Force is in critical need of intervention for training, crime-fighting equipment and improved welfare for quality service delivery to the most populous black nation on earth.