Abuja – Mr Mike Okiro, the Chairman, Police Service Commission, says the Nigeria Police Force have a shortfall of 20,000 personnel as at 2015.
He made this known while speaking to State House correspondents after the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Police Affairs, Dr James Obiegbu, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, and himself briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the activities of the ministry.
Okiro said that the president had been adequately briefed on the challenges and needs of the force and had given assurances that the challenges would be addressed.
“We briefed the president on the needs and challenges the organisation is facing.
“We briefed him on the successes recorded so far, we briefed him on how and things to be done to ensure that the security of Nigeria is maintained and all are assured.
“We talked about recruitment of police officers.
“Over the years, more than 21,000 police officers have retired, some dismissed, some died between 2010 and today.
“Of this number, only about 1,605 have been replaced giving a deficit of a very large number.’’
Okiro recalled that Buhari had recently announced that the police would embark upon the recruitment of 10,000 personnel, adding that the delegation also discussed the modalities for the recruitment with him.
He said the measure was to maintain and upgrade the security of the nation, adding that the Nigeria Police Force is in the process of refurbishing its obsolete vehicles to ease operations.
The chairman said that the president had given the assurance that the police would be encouraged, funded and equipped within the provision of the budget to make sure that Nigerians were provided with adequate security.
Okiro, however, said that the responsibility of the commission did not accommodate the issue of pension of retired officers, but rather those of the personnel in service.
Meanwhile Obiegbu, who also briefed the correspondents, acknowledged that Buhari had promised to support the police.
“Issue about funding of the police has been on the front burner, because it requires a lot of funding and it is not something government can do alone.
“The ministry recorgnised this for a very long time and embarked on the reform of the police.
“That necessitated the adoption of a reform programme that was programmed over six years in which both the private sector and other agencies were expected to chip in their own bits.
“The problem we are having is that whereas the Federal Government is helping in its own way, the support we are supposed to be getting from the private sector and other organisations are not coming in.
“And that is why we plead with those that can be of help to the police to do so.’’
Obiegbu observed that there could not be an amount that could be attached to the force for effective policing, knowing the challenges and the requirements to secure the 36 states of the federation.
He said the police would welcome any funding from other quarters to facilitate their operations.
Obiegbu explained that the Police Trust Fund had been embedded into the police reform account which “is in the Ministry of Police Affairs, but the issues concerning that lie within the bill we are trying to pass.
“For now, all those things are in the process of getting them fully activated’’.
He made a case for the retention of the police ministry in the present administration to handle top administrative matters and policy within the Federal Executive Council, while the police as the operational arm of government should concentrate on operations.
On the issue of policemen sewing their official uniforms themselves, Obiegbu said the ministry was not aware of the practice, but added, “overall the police at all levels have challenges.
“The challenge before us now is to work hard to address those challenges and that is what we are doing and that is why we are here to brief Mr President.’’(NAN)