If the subsisting budgetary allocation to the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, is not significantly reviewed, the task of securing lives and property by the nation’s primary internal security apparatus may continue to be a mirage.
This situation might have warranted the decision by House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs, to reject the 2018 budget proposals presented to it by the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, mid-last week. It described the budget as thoroughly inadequate and grossly incapable of mitigating the hydra-headed security situation in the country.
The Committee, chaired by Hon Haliru Dauda Jika, returned the submission to the Police top echelon the same way it was presented, and requested its immediate update, in consonance with the ever-changing security dynamics of the country.
This has been characterised in recent times by kidnappings, the herdsmen scourge and the attendant bloodletting, and a broad spectrum of criminality.
Indeed, in a year loaded with significant political activities and programmes preceding the 2019 election year, the Committee averred that these developments will throw up multifaceted security challenges and the budget proposal as presented, falls grossly short of minimum expectations.
Police Inspector-General, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, last Wednesday, led the police top brass to the National Assembly, to make a submission of N332 Billion, for the 2018 fiscal year.
While the sumptuous figure of the budget proposal seemed impressive and grand, diligent scrutiny of the proposal indicated that only about 10 per cent of the budget covers overhead and capital costs. The remaining 90 per cent is specifically for personnel costs for the Service.
The Service, as at the most recent update of its nominal roll in December 2017, had a personnel strength of 300, 892. This consists of core police personnel, traffic wardens and civilian staff. They are spread across the 12 Zones of the Nigeria Police Force, 37 State commands and FCT, 128 Area Commands, 1388 Divisional Commands, 1579 Police Stations and 3756 Police Posts.
The Police Force, therefore, would remain near comatose and utterly incapable of delivering on its primary mandate of protecting lives and property, if the glaring underfunding is not speedily redressed.
The 35-page document presented to House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs, complete with tables as annextures, contains details of the performance of the 2017 budget and indeed an overview of the budgetary proposals, appropriations, cash-backed releases and outstanding sums, for the last five years.
The analysis cover sub-heads such as: Capital Expenditure, Overhead Costs and Personnel Costs, respectively. While the Nigeria Police proposed N342 Billion for capital expenses in 2017, for instance, only N20.19Billion was appropriated. Of this appropriated sum, only N9.09 Billion, representing 45 per cent of the appropriation has been released.
The capital allocation should enable the Force carry out its statutory responsibilities in the provision of requisite tools and infrastructure. This includes vehicles, arms and ammunition, aircraft, intelligence/surveillance equipment and bomb disposal machinery, among others.
If the capital expenditure sub-head was underfunded, the overhead allocation to the Police Force was as measly as it was skeletal. While the sum of N11.6 Billion was appropriated as overhead cost, only N5.9 Billion was released. This represents 51 per cent of the appropriated sum, or better still, the appropriation for the months of January to July 2017.
The overhead allocation is critical to the day-to-day running of the Police Force, as it encapsulates costs incurred on: local travels and transport, maintenance of vehicles, aircraft, marine patrol boats, local and international training and fuel costs.
Also subsumed under overhead costs are maintenance of buildings- including offices and barracks nationwide, feeding of detainees and the provision of uniforms, among others.
The inadequacy of the funding situation is best exemplified by the minimum cost required for the fuelling and maintenance of operational vehicles on a daily basis.
The Police Force has a fleet which includes 11,191 vehicles and 3,115 motorcycles. Each vehicle requires a minimum of 30 litres of petrol or diesel as the case may be, while the motorcycles need 10 litres of petrol. A total sum of N16.4Billion is required to fuel 10, 379 petrol engine vehicles on an annual basis; N1.6Billion to fund the diesel consumption of 812 vehicles, and N1.64Billion to keep 3,115 motorcycles on the road all year round. This adds up to N19.7Billion on fuelling alone. Servicing these automobiles requires another N7Billion annually for spares, oil change and the like.
Corroborating the funding deficit, a Commissioner of Police from one of the State Commands confirmed on the condition of anonymity, that his Command gets as little as N10,000 per quarter, for Local Travels and Tours, LTT.
The House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs whose members include Emmanuel Udendu (Deputy Chairman), Adewale Elijah, Oni Olamide, Ayo Omidiran, Adamu Abubakar Chika, Aminu Tukur, Gwani Lucas Gideon and Igbokwe Raphael Nnanna, advised the Nigeria Police team to undertake a radical and speedy review of the budget proposal, for further necessary action by the parliament.
IGP Idris was accompanied to the budget presentation session by DIG Valentine Ntomchukwu (Research and Planning), AIG Abdul Iyaji (Police Accounts and Budget), AIG Dahiru Danwawu (Armament), AIG Abubakar Tilli (Force Animal Branch) and AIG Mohammed Usman (Commandant, Police Academy, Kano). Also on the delegation of the Police Force were AIG Ezekiel Zang (Air Wing), CP Don Awunah (Counter Terrorism Unit), CP Olusola Zubair (Interpol), CP Sadiq Bello (FCT), CP Olalekan Oladipupo (Works) and other principal officers of the Nigeria Police Force.
– Aminu is an Abuja-based Media consultant.