The Nigeria Police Force Is Grossly Underfunded – Senator


Senator Gyang Pwajok has revealed why Nigerian police stations usually complain of lacks that seem ridiculous. You might have heard complains about lack of money to fuel patrol vehicles, or buy stationery. The Senator puts the blame on the fact that some police formations are run on less than N2,000 per day.

The senator representing PDP, Plateau north said the police force was so “grossly under-funded that some divisions and stations do not even get that paltry sum”.

Pwajok, who was reacting to allegations that the force was performing below expectation, said the inadequate funding forced officers to rely on individual monies or support from state or local governments.

“In the 2013 budget, for instance, the police force has a total vote of N300 billion. Of that amount, N293 billion is for recurrent expenditure like salaries for the more than 400,000 police personnel,” he said.

“It is from the balance of between N8 billion that the 1,115 police divisions, 5,515 police stations and 5,000 police posts are run. Most of such formations do not even get anything at all and that is why they do not have crime diaries, stationery or even Biros.

“I think we have the qualified personnel to do the job, but the Nigerian system has failed the force because we do not give them what they require to excel.

“A police station is expected to source intelligence report and ensure effective communication between teams on the field and those in the offices. The station officer is also expected to get informants and fund them. He is also expected to ensure the smooth and speedy movement of men and materials from one point of need to the other. No one can do that on N2,000.’’

Pwajok pointed out that the police force was statutorily expected to safeguard the nation, but lamented that it was “the least funded of the security outfits”.

“The office of the National Security Adviser has about 100 advisory officers, but it has a vote of N100 billion in the 2013 budget. The police force is wider but is not considered for such effective funding.”

“From the 2013 budget, the nation spends an average of N1.6 million annually on a soldier, N9.8 million on a sailor and N7.1 million on an air force man or woman, but spends N0.078 million per police personnel.

“In effect, the running cost of each naval staff is equal to that of 12 policemen, while each airman is nine times as important as a policeman,’’ he said.

He decried a situation where states and local governments had to “fill in the gap”. He therefore urged the Federal Government to fund the police force to enable it handle internal insurgencies “so as to free the military to handle external aggression”.

“We must finance the police to do their work and regain the respect of the public because the impression one gets is that the police cannot handle any crisis and that is not the case.

“We must also strive to ensure that only very serious crises attract the military because soldiers must not be allowed to be a common and permanent feature of our streets since they are not a civil force,” he said.

He pointed out that the military was the last line of defence while the police was the first line of security, and stressed the need to reserve the military for only such serious situations.

“We have to avoid a situation where we rely on our last line of defence over the slightest disagreement,” he said.

Pwajok also lamented that 34 states had military men on their streets over one form of violence or the other, and described the situation as “not normal”.

He also said that there should be a blueprint for the withdrawal of soldiers from crises-ridden areas after the violence there had abated.

“There doesn’t appear to be any plan for the steady disengagement of the soldiers from the streets because the constitution did not even envisage any particular permanent role for soldiers in domestic affairs,” he added.

“The best way out is to return the military to the barracks immediately there is some semblance of stability to allow the police to manage the peace because the revered role of the soldiers is being compromised when they stay for so long among civilians.”

Pwajok suggested the restructuring of the internal security system to give some constitutional openings for community policing to provide strong support for, and ease the job of the regular federal police force.

“I think that such restructuring is crucial to contain current attacks in the rural areas because they are always carried out at midnight when people are asleep,” he noted.