Buhari and the modernisation of NPF

President Muhammadu Buhari

Globally, policing system has moved from analogue to digital. It means modern crimes fighting equipment and trained manpower are required for the 21st century policing system. From the People’s Armed Police of China to New York, Metropolitan, Moscow Police Departments, the standard is the same.

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) as currently constituted has gone through many stages of transformation since its forerunner was established in 1861. Its amalgamation and consolidation into what became the NPF did not take place till 1930.

One of the areas the Nigeria Police has consistently faced challenges is in the area of inadequate personnel. Currently, Nigeria has about three hundred and seventy one thousand, eight hundred personnel (371,800). Apart from the fact that this figure is grossly inadequate, for several decades past, the Nigeria Police is under funded, leading to poor accoutrements, training and logistics.

The above figure is a far cry for a police that is expected to secure Nigeria’s 4000km of borderland with four other West African countries and a long coast in the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf of Guinea. Besides, its geographical location is attractive to organised crime groups. The primary purpose of any government is first the preservation and protection of lives and property. This can only be efficiently achieved through well funded and modernised police system.

According to records by international police organisation, the NPF has embarked on several international peacekeeping missions to different African countries, including Sudan, Somalia, and Liberia. I had the privilege of attending a seminar in New York organised by OPEC and interpol, on issues bordering on seaports crimes and other international crimes. The late Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gambo Jimeta, was honoured in that gathering as the best. And just recently Nigerian police were referred as excellent professionals in terms of operations.

Also, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) awarded medals to 160 police officers from Nigeria who completed a year-long tour of duty in Somalia. The Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) for Somalia, Simon Mulongo told the officers that they “will go down in the annals of history of the African Union and also the history of the NPF as an outstanding team.”

Worried by inability of the Nigeria Police to render effective, efficient, representative, responsive and accountable services that serve and protect the population due to the aforementioned myriad of challenges, President Muhammadu Buhari, on assumption of office, set out to tackle these challenges one after the other to ensure that the Nigeria Police does not become a needle that undertakes tailoring for all and sundry but remains naked itself.

To start ameliorating the issue of shortage of personnel, President Buhari ordered the Police Service Commission (PSC) to commence yearly recruitment of 10,000 officers. This bold step is unprecedented in the history and evolution of the Nigeria Police. This singular step has boosted police operation, both at home and those on international peacekeeping missions.

Also recently, the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (NPTF) donated operational vehicles, security and medical equipment worth N11bn to NPF. The equipment procured for NPF include 200 Buffalo vehicles, 190 Ballistic Helmets and 640 pieces of bullet proof vests procured by the Fund under the 2020 intervention. The icing on the cake is that these equipment were procured from the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) in compliance with presidential Executive Order that local manufacturers must be patronised. This initiative has saved Nigeria capital flight.

Inaugurating the vehicles and other security hardware in Abuja, Buhari described the provision of the equipment as part of the ongoing reformation of the NPF. The president who was represented by the Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Dingyadi, said that the idea was to aid policing in Nigeria, through provision of modern infrastructure.

In September last year, President Buhari commissioned a block of 66 flats built by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for officers of the Nigeria Police Special Protection Unit Base 6, at Omagwa, Ikwerre local government area of Rivers state. He noted that the federal government on his watch had invested significantly in the NDDC as could be seen in the many projects across the Niger Delta states.

To demonstrate that better days are here for the Nigeria Police, a N100 million medical equipment were also purchased for the Muhammadu Buhari Police Clinic at Commassie Police Cantonment in Area 11, Garki, Abuja. The equipment included x-ray machines, theater equipment, drugs as well as COVID-19 kits purchased as part of 2020 intervention to police Health sector.

The Nigeria Police will from this January 2022 start enjoying enhanced salary package. This is so because President Buhari, recently approved a 20 percent pay rise for the Police. Without a doubt, this new move by President Buhari will spur the morale of the police officers.

Needless to harp on the improved

welfare and pension now enjoyed by retired police officers. They are full of praises for President Muhammadu Buhari and Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba.

Saddled with the responsibility of improving the welfare of serving and retired police personnel under President Buhari, the Nigeria Police Force Pensions Limited and the National Pension Commission (PenCom) have become valiant for transparency and prompt service delivery. The police retirees are head over heels praying for President Buhari who graciously approved payment of all outstanding entitlements to all verified and enrolled retirees, with back up funds remitted to Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) by PenCom to pay them all outstanding. Additionally, the Death Benefits for Batches 90 and 91 have been cleared.

The Retirement Resettlement, which started with N400 million when the NPF Pensions Board approved it in 2017, has grown to N500 million.

In view of the huge leap, the Buhari government, in its efforts to modernise the Nigeria Police, build their capacity to prevent and detect crime, protect life and property and maintain public order and safety, has recorded huge success. The best Nigerians can do is to support these efforts in order to make our society safer through effective policing system.

Ibrahim is director, Communications and Strategic Planning, Presidential Support Committee (PSC).