The Senate Thursday expressed dismay at the manner the special funds meant for the Nigeria Police reform are being managed, mandating its Committee on Police Affairs to investigate how a whopping N140 billion released for Police reforms between 2010 and 2013 had been spent.
The debate on police reform generated greater interest among the Senators including Senate President David Mark and his Deputy, Ike Ekwerenmadu, who called for creation of State Police for effective policing of the country.
Abubakar Tutare (PDP-Taraba) at raised a motion at plenary on the level of funding and implementation of the Nigeria Police Reform Programme.
He noted that despite huge sums already committed into the reform programme, there was absolutely nothing to show for it.
Consequently, the Upper Chamber mandated its Committee on Police Affairs to look into the books of the Police as it relates to the reform programme.
In 2010 the Federal Government came up with a reform agenda which is aimed at addressing lack of offices, residential accommodation, operational vehicles as well as communication equipment so as to make it more professional.
Senate President David Mark, said he had reviewed his stand on State Police, saying it is necessary to effect structural changes for effective policing.
Mark said, “I used to be a strong advocate of federal government Police or central Police. I am sure you have noticed that sometimes ago I also changed my mind to say that maybe we should experiment with State Police and see what it is.
“There are basic problems with the current system but we must try to address them in a manner that has nothing to do with politics in any form at all because if this country does not survive we will not play politics also”.
He was supported by his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, who also opined that lawmakers must take decision to secure the nation, calling for urgent decentralization of the Police.
He said “About N140 billion had been made available for the reforms between 2010 and 2013 but unfortunately with these huge funds we are not going to achieve anything with the Police. We must make up our minds to secure our people by decentralizing the Police”.
Contributing to the debate, Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, opined that the time is ripe to create State Police, saying that Nigeria Police Force is suffering from “structural defect”.
Ndoma-Egba spoke further, “The mentality of the Police is still rooted in our colonial history. No matter how much you bring you are not going to change the Police.
“The idea of a single Police for all the country is inconsistent with a federal system. This motion affords us the opportunity to restructure the Police in line to what is obtainable in federalism,” he added.
Umaru Dahiru (PDP-Sokoto) who also canvassed for creation of State Police, adding “I will certainly support creation of State Police as 2015 approaches. As it is today, nobody can trust the Federal Police to provide security for the people. The time is ripe for us to include State Police as key issue for discussion at the national conference”.
In the same vein, Smart Adeyemi (PDP- Kogi), in his contribution stressed the need to reappraise the manner police funds is being disbursed.
According to him, “We need to find out what is happening to their allocation and how money is being disbursed to the Police. There is nothing wrong with having a State Police.
“We must begin to look at ways to make a Policeman committed and passionate about his job by providing them with the good things of life”.
On her part, Oluremi Tinubu (APC-Lagos) also backed the call for State Police, saying the issue deserves all seriousness and should therefore, not be trivialized.
She said, “The entire nation is not happy with the Police. We requested for State Police but many of us voted against it here.
“We as the Senate can do something about it right here before it even gets to the national conference”.