BY Esther Onyegbula & Victor Arjiromanus
Given the myriad of security problems facing the nation, a nongovernment organization, Network Of police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN), has called on the government to ensure proper inclusiveness and participation of every police officer in the budget process.
Speaking at the public presentation of a report by Network of Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) on the review of Nigerian Police Force budget process, Katrina M. Aitken, the Nigerian Security and Justice Adviser, West Africa Conflict and Security Team, that this report forms, an important part of a growing momentum of concern and interest on Nigeria’s security and defense and the reform of Nigeria security architecture.
“More broadly important part of the report is that, Nigeria is today, suffering the most severe period of civility since the civil war in the 1960’s. Level of insecurity has deteriorated over the last decade. Robbery, kidnapping, cultism, insurgency, serious and organized crime, whatever it is, insecurity continues to be one of the key impediments to Nigeria’s economic growth and to its development. The continuation of such system will worsen the problems of insecurity and corruption in Nigeria. She further recommends that “the systems governing the legislative and finance of the police force, that is, both the government, and other independent bodies be strenghtened and responsible” She added.
Explaining why the organisation embarked on report, the Executive director NOPRIN Chukwuma Nwaguma, said that NOPRIN decided to engage researchers to examine the problem, with the objective of initiating an informed discussion around NPF financing and resource allocation, The researchers interviewed individuals with direct experience of police operations, in an attempt to clarifying the following budget matters: Responsibility for the preparation of budget requests submitted to the federal government; The NPF budget process; NPF financing; Budget releases, Budget for capital projects and fixed assets; payment of supplier invoices and operational issues affected by the budget process.”
Nwaguma noted that the report is meant to stimulate debate and advocacy for an improved budget process, improved transparency and improved accountability leading to improved national security”
Reviewing the report, Malachy Ugwummadu, stressed the need for proper inclusiveness and participation of every police officer in the budget process as “The openness of any process is determined by the participatory nature of that process”
He further added that the report exposes non-challant attitudes of police officers, and suggests that Nigeria commences community policing.
Commending the organisation, retired commissioner for police, Frank Odita said: NOPRIN had gone out of their way, but it does not end there, because similar reports have been killed, more should be done by the media”
He however called on the government to take proper care of the police force don’t push it into corruption. He said: “when the government does not look after the police, he will look out to the citizens, thereby commercializing policing.