Speaking on wednesday, a former Inspector-General of Police and Chairman, Police Service Commission, Musiliu Smith, told the Senate that the rot in the Police Force had got to a head as criminals and drug bandits give gift of houses to serving policemen.
He made the allegation during a public hearing on a ‘Bill for an Act to repeal the Police Act CaP P19 Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and enact the Police Act, 2018’, which held at the National Assembly complex.
The hearing was conducted by Senate Committee on Police Affairs, and was attended by the topmost echelon of the Police formation and other relevant institutions of government and individuals.
Musiliu opposed plans by the Senate to remove ‘Force’ from the name of the organisation and retain only Nigeria Police, saying that it must be done appropriately, in line with the provisions of the constitution.
He said: “I have few observations. One is the name from Nigeria Police Force to Nigeria Police. If the name has to be changed, it has to be done constitutionally. We met a police when all the training schools were working. We met a police where you could not be promoted without writing an examination.
“We met a police where every policeman lived in the barracks. Some policemen are given houses by criminals and hard drug bandits. That need to change. We should think of additional funding source for the police.
“In Lagos State, a governor came into office. He didn’t like what he met on ground. He invited some of us to change what was on ground. That was what gave birth to Lagos State Police Trust Fund. We can’t tackle insecurity without this. Let us think of that. The annual yearly budget ritual can’t help. It will not take us anywhere. If you want a highly motivated Police Force, we should adequately fund it”.
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, kick against the plans by the Senate to pass the bill seeking to make it compulsory for the apex legislative assembly to confirm the appointment of an IGP by the President.
He said it will politicise the Force if the Senate have the power to remove the IGP whenever it deemed it necessary.
Idris expressed opposition to the idea that the Senate Committee is also proposing to reduce the number of Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) from seven to one but , saying that the reduction would make the job hectic for the IGP.
“You can’t police a people without their consent. The provisions of the Bill are in consonance with the contents of the Criminal Justice System. The confirmation and removal of the IGP by the Senate is not necessary. It will politicise the Police Force. It should be expunged from the Bill. The tenure of the IGP of five years should be maintained. he said.
“The appointment of the IGP in consultation with Police Service Commission is appropriate. There should not be any confirmation by the Senate. This is the desire and position of the Police Force. There should not be one DIG. There should be seven as we have already. Having one will put too much pressure on the IGP. Having seven reduces the workload.”