By Emma Amaize
WARRI—CENTRE for the Vulnerable and Underprivileged, CENTREP, a rights group based in Delta State, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to decentralise, re-train and appropriately fund the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, to deal with the worsening insecurity in the country.
Executive director of the group, Mr. Oghenejabor Ikimi, in a Democracy Day message, said solution to the problem does not lie in the call for the creation of state and local government police by some security experts.
The group said: ”The solution to our present security woes lies in the decentralisation of our over- centralised and ineffective Police Force into six geo-political zones of North-East, North-West, North-Central, South-West, South-East and South-South with each headed by an Inspector-General of Police.
“Furthermore, the retooling and equipping of the Nigeria Police Force with modern technological gadgets such as drones, CCTV cameras, state-of-the art cars fixed with ICT gadgets, crime fighting helicopters and forensic laboratories, among others, in detecting, preventing and fighting crimes, would go a long way to reducing crimes to the barest minimum nationwide.
“The question here is whether the Presidency has what it takes to effect the above change in our internal security.”
Indices for state, LG police lacking
According to the group, “the indices for the creation of an enduring state and local government police nationwide is presently absent in our polity, where many states and local government councils can hardly pay state/council workers their monthly salaries.
“We make bold to say that the Nigeria Police Force apart from being ill-equipped, ill-trained and ill-funded, is structured to fail as the institution is over- centralised and thus, ineffective to deal with the sophistication crime has assumed nationwide.
“The above ills to say the least, have thus impacted negatively on the Force in terms of professionalism and discipline. For instance, checkpoints manned by police officers nationwide have assumed the status of tollgates as police officers collect money at will from motorists and even change money for motorists.
“The sad commentary about some of these unscrupulous activities of policemen at checkpoints and police stations is the use of Point of Sale, POS, machines to extort money from suspects in major cities.
“A recent United Nations statistics rates the number of killings in our nation even higher than terror-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, to mention but a few.”
Solar-propelled CCTV, drones
It added: “Needless to emphasise here that a regime of modern drones, solar-propelled CCTV cameras and crime-fighting helicopters across our nation will be more useful in checking crimes on our highways, as police checkpoints have outlived their usefulness since they are now toll gates.
”Drones, to say the least, can be used to man our porous borders presently being manned by security operatives with scratchy palms, especially in checking the influx of armed bandits from countries like Chad, Niger, Mali and Libya among others, that have invaded the Northern part of our country and presently causing mayhem nationwide.
“To this end, our nation urgently requires a Police Trust Fund in the above regard to properly fund the Police Force, hence we in CENTREP are renewing our call for the passage of the Police Trust Fund Bill that is presently gathering dust in the hallow chambers of the National Assembly.”