Senate Leader Ahmed Lawan, has appealed to members of the 8th National Assembly to ensure the passage of the Police Trust Fund Bill to enable Nigeria Police Force to effectively discharge its duties.
Lawn said the bill when passed would provide some funds from profits and other sources, largely not governmental, for the police force to have funds to improve their operations and make Nigerian roads safer.
He made the appeal on a Point of Order during Tuesday’s plenary to draw attention to “the Incessant Kidnappings on the Kaduna-Abuja Express Way”.
Lawan said he had met with the Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Sen. Abu Ibrahim, and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, on the matter.
“This meeting was specifically to discuss the incessant kidnappings that have become the situation on the Kaduna-Abuja Express Way,’’ he said.
Lawan said the current situation of mass kidnapping of individuals on a daily basis on Kaduna highway was not acceptable.
According to him, the meeting is to chart a course for a better and working security architecture and arrangement toward ensuring that the situation is arrested.
“The IG explained that currently there is a joint operation between the Police and the Army on that express road.
“That the Police had contributed about 600 personnel and donated 90 patrol vehicles to the joint operation but of course this has not solved the problem at all.
“In fact the problem has escalated. The IG promised that from today, Tuesday, there will be another set of operation that is exclusively police-designed and this will be to reinforce the joint operation that they undertake with the military.
“We accepted that promise by the IG. We have taken him by his word. We are going to ensure that the two committees on police affairs of the two chambers monitor and see the situation if there will be any improvement,” he said.
Lawan further said that the inspector general of police raised issues of funding of the police force.
“We believe that there are short-term funding amendment and support and also long-term funding arrangements for effective policing of Nigeria.
“The short-term is, during these immediate operations, this assembly, and in particular this administration, will have to look for financial support for the police to not only police our roads and highways properly but do the other operations that are they billed by the law.’’
In his remarks, the Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, said: “we have emphasised over and over in this chamber that the primary purpose of government is the security and welfare of the people.
“We sympathise with the Police in respect of the problems they are having, some of their challenges, especially funding and manpower, but while this is being addressed, it is important we will maximise whatever we have now to be able to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians wherever they live.
“I am happy that the Senate is now involved in this dialogue with the security agencies, especially the Police, to ensure that we maximise this problem of kidnapping.”
Ekweremadu said the matter was embarrassing and not good for the image of Nigeria.
He urged the committee on police to keep the conversation going and appealed to the Police to redouble their efforts in order to minimise the issue of kidnapping.
“The committee should ensure they deploy their oversight responsibilities to engage the police constantly and to ensure that they protect the lives and property of citizens.
“We await the outcome of the promises they made. We believe that the promises will yield positive results,” Ekweremadu said.