By Henry Umoru, ABUJA
THE Senate has asked the Federal government to empower the Nigeria Police force as part of moves to motivate them if the present Insecurity, banditry, kidnapping in the country will be nipped in the bud.
According to the Senate, nothing stops the Police from getting the sophisticated equipment that the Air Force, Navy and Army are getting.
Speaking yesterday while presenting the report of his Committee to the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Chairman, Senate Committee on Airforce, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, All Progressives Congress, APC, Kebbi South said, “There is nothing that prevents the Nigerian police from getting some of these sophisticated vehicles and to be doing surveillance on those roads.
“It is not nice that it is not only when it happens that they rush there and then the kidnappers are gone. If there is a coordinated effort that the police will report that there is an incidence in this location, and then an aircraft can continue to hover around those people because they cannot be faster than an aircraft, then while it is hovering, the police should be able to have an idea of where those bandits or kidnappers are and then some helicopter intervention can help,” Na’Allah said while speaking to journalists.
“We want a secured nation. We will continue to pray that the security agents will do more to ensure these agitations and expectations by Nigerians are made “
On the return of Bandits to the Kaduna-Abuja high way, even with the purchase of Super Tucano fighter jets, Na’Allah who noted that Nigerians should not have been hearing the rise of terrorism on that route, said, “It is an operational issue, it is one thing to have the equipment and it is another thing to use the equipment for the purpose of facing the challenges that we have.
“Kidnapping and banditry in Nigeria have defied this intervention for a number of reasons. One, it is not that you have an enemy on the other side you are fighting that you can say you can take the fight to his place and finish him. These are things that come intermittently from somewhere.
“The nature and character of a crime to a larger extent will determine the control strategy. I’m of the opinion that this has to do more by empowering the police who are on the ground to ensure that these areas are effectively secured.
“There is nothing that prevents the Nigerian police from getting some of these sophisticated vehicles and to be doing surveillance on those roads.
“It is not nice that it is not only when it happens that they rush there and then the kidnappers are gone. If there is a coordinated effort that the police will report that there is an incidence in this location, and then an aircraft can continue to hover around those people because they cannot be faster than an aircraft, then while it is hovering, the police should be able to have an idea of where those bandits or kidnappers and then some helicopter intervention can help.
“We want a secured nation. We continue to pray that the security agents will do more to ensure these agitations and expectations by Nigerians are made.”
Na’Allah further said, “The total allocation to the air force is N179, 779, 104 81. Personnel cost N103, 781, 544, 860. Total Overhead N10, 350, 534, 571. Total recurrent is N114,132,79531. Total N65, 648, 981 is what is allocated for the air force.
Speaking with Journalists after the presentation of his report, Na’Allah said, “at the budget defence sitting, specific questions were asked on grey areas where we felt that certain adjustments should be made. And then the issue of fueling we felt the money allocated was a bit high but the defence has been made that you cannot run an air force where you only have the fuel to run for that period. So you must buy reserve.
“There have been complaints of the inadequacy of fund and because of the challenges been faced by the Nigerian air force, they really need additional platforms and because of the fact that these platforms are not readily available, it calls for planning and therefore it will have been better if certain positions have been made in this year’s budget so that in the planning that they have for 2021, most of these platforms can be made available within the shortest possible time. So we are appealing to this committee in the event that you find some funds somewhere, the air force will be more than happy to have some additional funds that can be utilised for their operation.
“There is Air Force Institute of Technology which had been upgraded by the national assembly to a university status and it is located in Kaduna. Their total allocation is N4, 112,206, 522. Of this, personnel is N2, 951, 140, 953. Total recurrent is N3, 104, 135, 551. Total capital N1, billion 870. But Mr Chairman, this institute has not been given a takeoff grant by which is normal for every university taking off and because it is research-based, it requires the intervention of the national assembly to get the takeoff grant which is around N4 billion or N5 billion.
“Most of the equipment that the air force needs are not those that you can pick on the shelf and the budget by the national assembly may not be a comfort intervention in view of what we are facing as a country. We commend the president for intervening in the supplementary budget but I think it is important that something more needs to be done.