By Jonah Japhet
The mixed feelings that trailed the reintroduction of Police Affairs Ministry by President Muhammadu Buhari may not be misplaced. So many factors exist that justify the reactions. Whatever they are, the need for such a Ministry in Nigeria can’t be overemphasised.
With rising insecurity that deeply challenges the societal order, there is no other time for such a ministry than now. Just like the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, whose duties are so critical to the survival of the nation, the Police Affairs Ministry holds the key to effective policing.
The importance of the ministry was better captured by President Buhari, who said:” Working with the state governments also, we intend to improve the equipping of the police force with advanced technology and equipment that can facilitate their work. To drive this, I recently created a full-fledged Ministry of Police Affairs.’’
Buhari made the statement while hosting traditional rulers from the North led by His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Given the centrality of the ministry to internal security, one was not surprised at the calibre of the person appointed as a minister.
In the appointment of Maigari Dingyadi as Minister of Police Affairs, the President gave Nigerians the man for the job.
Armed with a robust background in public service, the Sokoto-born technocrat has not left anyone in doubt about his vision for the police ever since he assumed office in August 2019.
The objective was well spelt out during his first public outing when he promised that the ministry under his leadership would work with the Inspector General of Police to ensure that the necessary tools and equipment needed by police was secured to take policing “to the next level.’’ Interestingly, the issue of welfare is an area that is so dear to him and he vowed that as the necessary tools are provided, he would also work at improving the welfare of police officers.
Dingyadi is conscious of the fact that doing so would boost their morale for greater productivity and efficiency. For a force that is bedevilled by operational deficiency, having a leader who prioritises the two key issues are nothing but reassuring.
Now, the question is: Are these deliverables being effectively pursued under Dingyadi’s watch?
The poser is important considering the dire need for an effective and modern policing in line with 21st-century dynamics.
Many activities have been undertaken by the Minster that speaks to this commitment and vision. Perhaps, the need to sustain numerous ongoing works informed the inauguration of a Ministerial Project Coordination Committee by the minister last year.
This panel was designed to drive the implementation process and work out appropriate programmes and projects to accomplish the assigned priorities and deliverables.
The areas of focus included the full implementation of the community policing policy, the recruitment of additional 400,000 policemen across the country, establishment of a Federal Public-Private Security Trust Fund amongst others.
So far, virtually all these priorities are at the various stages of implementation under the leadership of the minister.
It is gratifying to note that community policing, which is now on the lips of everyone is a result of the seriousness of the Ministry of Police Affairs. The same applies to the recruitment of more policemen and the introduction of Security Trust Fund.
The reason for establishing the trust fund is to ensure the ministry takes care of training needs, equipment, and infrastructural development, ICT, and intelligence gathering.
Certainly, there would be crime data available to the police to enable them to manage the security situation in the country
Anyone conversant with the trajectory of the NPF since last year would observe the commitment of the minister to community policing—a testament to his belief that policing is everyone’s business and should matter to all.
- *Japhet, a security expert, writes from Abuja