Public institutions are established largely with functional imperative of protecting public interests. Their adjudged credibility, successes and failures are in most instances predicated upon the levels and the extent of public confidences they enjoy.
The capability and efficient delivery of statutory responsibilities by the institutions serve as conditions precedent in the attainments of the institutional objectives. And the rapidity with which a public institution responds to the callings of members of public is determined by amongst others, adequate funding, training and equipment. While other factors are relevant, the most important is adequate funding of such institutions. This is because adequate funding remains the determining factor of success of any organization, all things being equal.
The Nigeria Police has been one of the public institutions whose records of adequate funding had historically been much to be desired. Of course, great noise had been made concerning the extent and rapidity with which the police force responds to the yawning of the public. But a dispassionate observer of the working of the police in the last decade will agree that the force has almost been fractured by lack of adequate funding.
Thus, years of failure to live up to expectation in terms of effective policing of Nigeria at different occasions had embarrassingly lowered the esteem of members of the force in the eyes of members of the public. In the same vein, this prolonged inefficiency largely occasioned by low levels of funding for the police has aided an image of the Nigeria Police as an enemy institution instead of an institution with clear mandate to protect the lives and property of the people with quick and appropriate response to their demands.
With this track record of low performance, Nigerians had been skeptical in relying on the ability of the police to protect their lives and property. More often than not, the willingness to do the job is there, but the requisite equipment, training, motivation and right frame of mind necessary for effective police system have, to say the least, been elusive in the Nigeria Police. All of these have been due to lack of seriousness in the funding of the institution by successive government. This disfavoured financial source of police sustenance has negativity affected its statutory duty and act of professionalism.
The historical failure of the Nigeria police to meet its statutory requirement of protecting the lives and property of the people, and the huge public condemnation of its perceived lack of professionalism will be taken seriously if the precipitating factors of these failures are objectively analyzed. And if such analysis can be anything to go by realistically, the blames will hardly go to the NPF alone.
Almost on daily basis, we malign the force for what it has done wrongly. We even occasionally attempt comparison between the Nigeria police and its counterparts in advanced countries in terms of performances. One disturbing part of these comparisons lies in the refusals of the commentators to extend the comparisons to the levels of funding. It is germane to note that while in advanced countries, funding of the police system rests on the shoulders of the state and corporate organizations, it absolutely left for the state to handle here in Nigeria. There is no reason why the funding of the NPF shouldn’t be the responsibility of all tiers of government and corporate organizations. Even the well to do members of the society shouldn’t be left out of police funding since the safety of lives and property is a desired commodities by all. So, if the truth must be told and logic applied, the funding of NPF must be the duty of all the stakeholders in our system. Unless this is institutionalised, the police poor performances will remain a permanent national phenomenon.
This is why the position of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris that “funding remains the most fundamental problems confronting Nigerian police organization” is a truism of a sort.
– Chidinma is a student of Mass Communication, Federal Polytechnic Bida