By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—MOVED by the rot in the Police College, Ikeja, Lagos, where men of the Police are trained under dehumanizing condition, the Senate, yesterday, vowed to carry out a holistic probe into the funds allocated to the college and other institutions of training in the force.
It, however, blamed itself for not carrying out an effective and efficient oversight function to detect the deplorable and appalling situation of the college and then raise an alarm, prior to the visit of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Answering questions from journalists in Abuja, yesterday, Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan, ANPP, Yobe North, said the Senate had completed arrangement to summon the Police authorities to explain how funds appropriated to the college were utilised.
Lawan, however, said that the investigation of the committee would go beyond the Police College, Ikeja, with a view to finding a lasting solution to the rot in the entire system.
Lawan, who could not give the exact figures appropriated to the college, said: “I don’t have any figure off hand as to how much has been appropriated. But one thing is very certain and clear from the visit of Mr. President to the police college in Lagos that some agencies of government have not been living up to expectations.
“The public accounts committee has already taken some steps to ensure that the police authorities appear before the committee to explain the utilisation of the funds appropriated particularly to the college. But we are also expanding beyond the college because this is a sign that all is not okay with the police organisation.
“I want to hope that the rot will stop with the police college. But if in the course of our investigation we discover that it is more than the college and that some organisations within the police are facing the same thing, then we have to take very serious action.
“First, we have to determine whether the funds were adequate so that if the funds were not adequate, we will like to see how prudent, economically and efficiently the scarce resources were utilized. If, however, the funds were enough and someone failed to do his or her duty, we will surely recommend serious sanctions for whoever is responsible.”
Poor oversight by N-Assembly
On poor oversight by National Assembly, Senator Lawan admitted that the National Assembly, particularly the Senate and House Committees on Police Affairs, would have detected the rot in the college had the committees did their jobs well.
He also fingered the Police Affairs and Police Service Commission of doing a poor job of not properly supervising the college.
He said: ‘’These are people that are directly involved with them. So it is a responsibility that we share. But I believe that we are supposed to take the lead in the oversight process because this is our major work.
“We are supposed to be visiting institutions and organisations that have been appropriated public funds to ensure that the funds are utilised properly.
“So, this is an eye opener not only for the police affairs committees but for other committees. And the Senate President has consistently told us to ensure that we have oversight functions and programmes that would ensure that no public fund is put in another way or used in an imprudent manner.
“So I am sure that we would step up our oversight. And the President should do more of this kind of thing because if anything, it would give the trainees the impression and confidence that their leaders are really concerned with what happens with their training at institutions.”
On whether the funds were enough
On whether the funds for the Police were enough, he said: “I always believe that efficiency, economy, prudence and effective utilisation of resources are more important than quantum of resources, because when we emphasise on having more funds neglecting the efficiency aspect of utilisation, we don’t achieve anything.
“Some organisations with good management could achieve more with little. It is not about the quantum of money but how strategically the funds are utilised and efficiency of utilisation.
“So I believe that we should be emphasizing efficiency, economy and prudence of funds in addition to appropriating more funds. We can also grow better environment for our organisations to function better. But I don’t think we should be limiting ourselves to quantum of funds.”
When asked whether the probe will be as holistic as that of Bureau for Public Enterprise, BPE, Lawan said: “We did not do BPE investigation as a Public Accounts Committee. You would recall that the BPE assignment was an ad hoc assignment.
“This police issue is a public account assignment. What we will do is narrow down appropriations over the year to the police and see how much has been utilised and to what the revelation will be.
“But I don’t think we will begin to investigate the police from 1999 till date. We will focus on the budget. You would recall that BPE was a total investigation and everything was involved. But with the police, I don’t think that is where we are going.”