Inadequate Funding For Police May Affect Police Performance In 2015 Elections – Senator Igwe

Nigeria's Inspector General of Police

By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja
The Senate Committee on Police Affairs has warned that inadequate funding in the 2014 budgetary allocations to the Police may impact negatively on the conduct of the 2015 elections.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Paulinus Igwe, said on Tuesday during the budget defence session by the Police Affairs ministry that a poorly funded police could compromise the elections, stressing that police officers may resort to strike if salaries are not paid.

Police vote in the 2014 budgetary allocation for personnel cost was reduced from the sum of N292b in 2013 to N279b in the current budget.

“If last year when we did not have any major election, the police formation and command was given N7.6 billion as overhead cost and if you look at the proposal of 2014 budget it is N1.2 billion. That is less than what was given to the police last year. Looking at the year we are in, the election year when we expect the police performing in all the states of the federation in making sure they provide enough security for Nigerians.

Igwe said the reduction by the ministry of Finance on Police overhead cost which stood at N7.6b in 2013 but now stands at N5.4b.cannot be justified.

He said, already the police could not salaries this quarter. “Don’t forget that we are the people who oversight them and we meet with them from time to time. People who received N292 billion to pay for their salary last year are now getting N279 billion, which means that roughly you are telling us that two thousand or three thousand police men have been killed or have died within one year.”

He said the committee may be forced to delay the ministry’s budget if the issues of salaries are not properly sorted out.

“I don’t want a situation where police officers may go on strike. Things that are not supposed to happen in this country is happening because of our enemies or perceived enemies of government. We in this committee will not sit back and be looking at it happen like that. The issue of their salary is key. Personnel cost is key in government and it has to be corrected immediately otherwise, it will delay your budget.

Supervising Minister of Police Affairs, Olajumoke Akinjide who led the budget defence team told the lawmakers that her ministry had led a delegation to the minister of finance to complain about the shortfalls in the ministry’s budgetary allocations particularly as regards the drop in personnel costs.

“It is something that worries us and we have made a representation to the ministry of finance. There is no reason to justify the decrease, at worse; we should maintain last year’s amount. The ministry is looking at it and I believe this will be rectified very soon”, she said.

The minister also put the current strength of the Nigerian police force at about 370,000 men and women, saying her ministry is making plans to conduct fresh recruitment into the force.