The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has said the Nigeria Police Force was grossly under equipped.
According to him, besides the challenge of inadequate personnel, the NPF needed no fewer than 1,000 armoured personnel carriers, 250,000 assault rifles with corresponding ammunition and 200,000 riot gunners and smoke pistols, among others.
Adamu, made the disclosure on Tuesday at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs, tagged, ‘Repositioning the Nigeria Police for an Enhanced Service Delivery.
He was represented at the hearing by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Operations), Abdulmajid Ali.
Other items on the IGP’s list to improve the Nigeria Police included 2,000,000 tear gas canisters and smoke grenades; 1,000 tracking devices, and 774 operational drones, among others.
He also lamented the poor remuneration of Police officers which according to him, scared the best and suitable applicants away from the police.
At the public hearing, Ali presented a document containing reports by various police reform committees highlighting the major challenges militating against an optimal service delivery by the police to the House of Representatives committee on Police Affairs.
Addressing the gathering, Ali listed some of the challenges of the NPF to include gross underfunding, which he said was caused by inadequate budgetary appropriation and non-release of the limited appropriated funds.
Noting that the budgetary system was still the envelope system, he said that would take care of neither the needs nor wants of the force.
Ali explained that the envelope budgetary system involved the capping of funds at a particular amount irrespective of the needs of an organisation.
The DIG spoke further, “A comparative analysis between Nigeria and South Africa police indicates that while in 2018 the South African police got R46.87bn rand or N1.1372tn for visible policing programme, with a 6.89 per cent growth projection up to 2021/2022 financial year, the Nigeria Police had to do with N3.5bn appropriation and an eventual release of N20bn for capital and overhead expenditure.”
He also lamented the inadequacy of Police personnel saying it cannot cope with the “expanding and increasingly complex requirements of policing Nigeria’s growing population and crime profile.”
According to him, 302,000 police officers cannot effectively police the country.
Recall that as part of efforts to address problem of personnel, President Muhammadu Buhari, last year approved the recruitment of 10,000 police officers.
Besides the problem of personnel, Ali also explained that poor remuneration and welfare regime, constitute major issues for the NPF.
He said both were not only de-motivating for officers, but were not attractive enough for the best and most suitable applicants for police jobs in Nigeria.
He compared the earnings of a Keyan police officer and his Nigerian counterpart.
“In Kenya, for example, a police constable take-home earning is about 34,907 Shilling or N126,000, whereas his Nigerian counterpart earns unfortunately less than N50,000. Pitiably, this earning comes down to between N12,000 and N18,000 at retirement,” he said.
On the issue of training, the DIG noted that lack of funds had over the years made it impossible for an average police officer to be adequately trained and retrained for an enhanced service delivery.
He however, stated that improvement in that area would enhance professionalism in terms of weapon handling, investigation and human rights observance.
Furthermore, Ali said, “The force needs to improve on its arsenal, as well as technology to combat cybercrime, insurgency and sundry crimes.
“Consequently, not less than 1,000 APCs, 250,000 assault rifles/corresponding ammunition, 2,000,000 tear gas canisters/smoke grenades 200,000 riot gunners and smoke pistols, 1,000 tracking devices, 774 operational drones, among others, (are needed) to cover the length and breadth of the nation.
“In repositioning the Nigeria Police, there is the need to review our policing strategy as a nation. This informs the approval and adoption of community policing as the national strategy for internal security management in Nigeria.
“The community policing model being envisioned for Nigeria is one that will draw on the legal opportunities provided by the Police Act for the engagement of special constables who, in this instance, will be engaged as community policing officers under the coordination of the Nigeria Police towards evolving a community-focused policing architecture.
“When fully operational, the strategy will free up the human and material assets of the Nigeria Police, which are currently tied down to the management of low level crimes, and strengthen our capacity to redirect our assets and operations to high-profile crimes that constitute major threat to community safety and security.”
In his submission, Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Musiliu Smith, a retired IGP, also decried inadequate police personnel, many of whom he said were deployed to protect public buildings and very important persons.
“It is from the indicated police strength that personnel are deployed to Presidential Villa, National Assembly, judiciary, top government officials at the centre (Federal Government) and all the states, prominent traditional rulers nationwide, embassies, banks, key/vulnerable points and all levels of police formations throughout the country. No wonder, only skeletal police coverage is available in all police formations nationwide,” Smith noted.