…As Arthur-Worrey seeks reversal of trend
The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) has accused the federal government of abandoning its responsibility of funding the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) as provided for in the 1999 Constitution to the state and local governments, corporate entity and individuals.
The Executive Director, RULAAC, Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma who made this accusation in an overview of “Police Budget and Public Safety in Nigeria”, at a Roundtable on Police Budget Process held in Lagos last Thursday by the Centre in collaboration with the Nigeria Policing Project (NPP) noted that although the NPF was the responsibility of the federal government under the constitution, it had perennially failed to adequately fund the Police.
Nwanguma noted that this development had rendered the Police especially at the state and local levels dependent and substantially relying on state governments and where they were allowed to exist, local governments as well as corporate entities, communities and individuals for their operational lifeline.
He added that state governors spent significant amounts of their security budgets to support the Police in their various states in order to assist the Police respond to increasing levels of crime and insecurity in the various states.
According to him, “The Will, in an opinion, ‘The need for Adequate Finding of Nigeria Police’, published in its January 4, 2018 edition underscored this when it observed that ‘Indeed, a significant portion of the burden of Nigeria Police funding has often been borne by the state governors. The governors provide operational vehicles and other equipment and logistic support to the Nigeria Police commands in their various states.”
He further contended that because budgetary allocations don’t trickle down to zonal, state and local command levels, the state police at those levels resort to illicit means of generating funds adding that the consequences of state governors, local government chairmen, corporate entities, communities and individuals contributing funds and equipment to the Police was that the independence, integrity, professionalism and effectiveness of the Police were compromised.
Contributing, former Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund, Mr. Fola Arthur-Worrey disclosed that people mistakenly blame the governor for security failure not realizing that 80% of the operational needs of the Police were funded by states saying that “If you have Operation Puff-Adder, it is provisions by the states; the vehicles, the fuel, what they call staff ration allowance etc., any operation that the Police or the Army is doing, it is the state that carries the burden.”
Arthur-Worrey noted that the first source of Police funding was the federal budget stating that constitutionally, only the federal government could make an appropriation bill on Police funding because Police and other security agencies were on the exclusive legislative list even as he pointed out that that was why the Federal Government takes 52% of the national revenue while the 36 states plus the FCT and 774 local government areas struggle for the remaining 48%.
“Now, the question whether the federal government delivers 52% of our needs is a question. That was strictly the case in the 50s and 60s up until early 90s, the Police funding was strictly under the federal budget but as we formulate budget rather than the need budget, it means that it was getting smaller and smaller and with time it created some other agencies like the FRSC and so on and they are all feeding from the same source. So, clearly, it is not enough.
“As time went on, the states, under the mythology of Chief Security Officer, as Governor, you are the Chief Security Officer, therefore and I tell people there is no such animal in any statute or constitution, none has function defined. So how do you use that as basis for appropriation? Any state that appropriates any money under Police in its appropriation is acting unconstitutional but reality says you have to take on what constitutional experts call unfunded mandate. This feeling that the Governors have security vote is a myth, it doesn’t exist, and there is no such fund. The only thing you can pay is what is in your budget and if any Governor says to his constituents, I am spending security vote, you should challenge him. It is an unfunded mandate.
“So, we must not allow the federal government to escape its primary responsibility because we keep talking about alternative funding sources; let the federal government first of all live up to its own obligation. If you appropriate N300 billion, please release N300 billion, that is the first thing before we start to talk about other sources. Again, you have to understand one thing, the budget for the Police in 2014 is N386 billion about $2 billion compared to New York City alone spending $12 billion a year alone on the Police.
“So, the national Police, the largest government agency in Nigeria, the Police, in 2014, we are saying it was N386 billion, 80% of which goes to personnel cost and every input that the Police use from their Uniform, their weapons, to their kits etc is imported, it is Dollar denoted, now we come to 2019, the currency is more than half, it is the same three hundred and something billion exactly half of what it was five years ago. So, there is something fundamentally wrong, we are not doing the Maths at all.
“The Police themselves don’t make a very strong case. What has happened with the Police is that it is a tendency now to approach the states with a sense of entitlement. So, the reasons the constitution puts the burden on the federal government and gave it 52% for what it calls common service is so that the states will be able to deal with education, health and so on that make the citizens have a better life”, he submitted.
Photo: Executive Director, RULAAC, Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma.
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