By KINGSLEY OMONOBI, Abuja
POLICE affairs minister, Dr. Ibrahim Lame, has said that the N3.5billionÂ released for crime prevention and control in seven cities of the country is intact and safe in custody of government contrary to the insinuation in some quartersÂ that the money could not be accounted for.
SpeakingÂ at the flag off of the pilot scheme on strategic crime prevention, in Kaduna, yesterday, theÂ minister said â€œno kobo has so far been released to any contractor from the fund and neither has the money been wasted or diverted as suggested in some media.â€
Lame said that while theÂ money has been set aside for the seven- city project, it is not true to say that itÂ has been wasted as some of the projects have just been awarded, andÂ a few others are being consideredÂ for award, noting that his ministryâ€™s primary approach was the training ofÂ police officers who will handle the programme and this has commenced in Kaduna with consultants from the United Kingdom.
He advised the media to always exercise restraint and high level of responsibility in reporting issues of national security as doing contrary was capable of sending the wrong signals to the people, saying that the ministry of police affairs has always been at the forefront of observing due process and accountability in all its financial dealings.
Commending the emphasis placed by the Yarâ€™Adua administration on the reformation of theÂ police and the focus on the issue of internal security which is central to the attainment of all aspects of the governmentâ€™s seven-point agenda, the minister said: â€œThis is why the government is embarking on a programme of complete reform of the Nigeria Police through training, provision of appropriate equipment and improved welfare package as being packaged in the pilot scheme for the seven cities.â€
Flagging-off the training, Governor Namadi Sambo commended the organizers for their foresight and promised to be of continuous assistance to all security agencies in the state. HeÂ thanked the Federal Government for bringing the programme to Kaduna.
Earlier, the inspector general of police, Ogbonna Onovo, at the occasion, announced that 500 trainees wouldÂ be participating in the initial trainingÂ programme.