President Goodluck Jonathan said the Federal Governement would spend the sum of N1.5 trillion in the next five years to reform the Nigeria Police Force. This was made known by Sen. Bala Mohammed, the Minister of the FCT who represented Mr. Jonathan at a two-day retreat on Sustaining Nigeria Police Reforms, in Makurdi on Thursday. At the event, which was organized by the Police Service Commission, PSC, and the Benue State Government. Mr. Jonathan said government was committed to building the capacity of police in the country through reforms currently ongoing.

Mr. Jonathan said that 60 percent of the money would be provided by government, while the remaining 40 percent would come from the private sector, including non-governmental organizations. He assured that the Federal Government was committed to equipping police for enhanced performance. The president urged the commission to build a police force that was impeccable and committed to ensuring the security of all Nigerians. He said the Federal Government had accepted the recommendations of the Anambra State Governor, Peter Obis committee on the police and would soon issue a white paper on it. He advised participants at the retreat to contribute meaningfully to the topics, noting that such recommendations might help the government to tackle rising cases of insurgency in the country. Gabriel Suswam, The Governor of Benue State, in his remark, said that police had to imbibe the discipline of being accountable to the elected representatives of the people. Mr. Suswam said that by being accountable, the police would consult widely with the people through their representatives to reflect their views on police reforms. He further stated that reforms that never reflected the views of the people would be disregarded. He called on the police to redouble their efforts in providing security to the people, especially as the country was drawing closer to elections.

Mr. Suswam condemned agitations for state police, pointing out that the country was not ripe enough to have state police.

In an address, the Chairman of the PSC, Mike Okiro, called for a national policy on policing to ensure continuity of policies in the force. He also decried the non-implementation of various police reform committees in the country. He said that most of the committees echoed the need for police restructuring, training and retraining. The PSC Chairman also spoke on the need to review the training curricula, upgrading of training institutions and increased funding. He said the cumulative effect of the identified lapses was declining morale of the officers which adversely affected them in discharging their duties.

Mr. Okiro said for reforms to be effective, “They must bring about change or improvement in the status quo by correcting perceived faults, removing inconsistencies and abuses.” He expressed regrets that even Perry Osayande’s recommendations, which the government accepted, had not been implemented. The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, said the police management, had aligned its policies with the recommendations of previous reform committees.

Mr. Abubakar said the essence of the alignment was to strengthen the police for effective service delivery in line with international best practices. He also appealed to the PSC to approve the decentralization of the powers to promote and saction officers.

(NAN)