Stakeholders in the safety and security sector has decried the duplication of policing agencies in the country contrary to the constitutional provision of one Police Force for the entire nation noting how these agencies deplete available fund to the detriment of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
Speaking at Stakeholders’ Roundtable on Police Budget held recently in Lagos by the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) in collaboration with the Nigeria Policing Project (NPP), the Executive Director, RULAAC, Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma observed that rather than adequately fund the Police, the federal government, in utter violation of the constitutional prohibition of the establishment of other police forces, continued to set up new parallel agencies that unnecessarily duplicate the law enforcement functions of the police.
Nwanguma stated that this development ended up creating inter agency rivalry, confusion and conflicts saying “Reports of successive government reform panels and CSO Panel on Police Reform have also identified the problem of duplication of agencies such as EFCC, ICPC, FRSC, NAPTIP and NDLEA that fragment and duplicate police functions”.
He contended that duplication of agencies were inimical to improving the effectiveness of NPF as they not only deprive the NPF of badly needed material resources but also deplete its pool of human resources as some of these agencies particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) still drew their leadership and operational personnel from the NPF.
Looking at some effects of police underfunding, Nwanguma who is the former National Coordinator of the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) pointed out that poor funding which results to lack of forensic capabilities rendered the police unable to carry out diligent and professional crime investigations adding that devoid of intelligence and investigation facilities, the police resort to torture and third degree means of policing.
He added that poor funding and lack of operational vehicles and communication equipment render the police incapable of rapidly responding to urgent crime situations and distress calls even as he noted that due to lack of funds and lack of modern arms and ammunitions, bandits who were better equipped and bore more sophisticated weapons overwhelmed the police and sometimes killed them
“Due to poor funding and inadequate remunerations including allowances, insurance, pensions, gratuity and other entitlements, morale is low, dedication to duty and performance are low”, he added.
Also speaking, former Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund, Mr. Fola Arthur-Worrey while harping on the need to redefine the function of the NPF in Nigeria also suggested that the government should be brave enough to repeal agencies that were not adding value to policing in the country.
He said,” Nobody has been able to explain to me the function of the Civil Defence, I don’t know what it is doing. It is a voluntary organization that came during the civil war and suddenly translated into something I don’t know what it is but strangely enough, the provisions of the Civil Defence Act replicate a hundred percent the Police Act. That is already unconstitutional since the constitution says there shall be only one Police Force and this was done under our so called democratic system. I don’t think it really represent our interest or even understand what our problems are.”
Photo: Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma, Executive Director, RULAAC.
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