By Helen Udoh-Abuja
…CALLS FOR INCREASED FUNDING FOR THE FORCE
“Today, I visited the IG of Police this afternoon for 3 reasons”
The first one is to congratulate the IG on his well deserved appointment. We all know he is a very experienced and wonderful Police Officer who means well for the Police Force and for our country. So I am here to congratulate him and to give him support and encouragement to do his utmost best in service of our great nation.
The second reason is to solidarize with the IG, Senior officers, and all the officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force on account of the dastardly acts of aggression and terrorism visited on police formations, killing of police officers and men and vandalization of police properties and other government facilities.
This is a very trying period in the life of our country and particularly for the police and I thought that I should be here as a policeman that I always will be myself, to show support, to show concern and to join in condemning these acts of aggression visited on law abiding people doing their best to protect citizens of our country.
I want to also use this opportunity to call for a cessation of all such attacks on police formations, officers and men that is going on in some parts of our country and to tell everybody that the police are not your problem, the police are not your enemies.
Police officers and men are your brothers and sisters from across all parts of our country. I was also one of them so I consider it as something that could have happened to me too if I was still in the force.
So I am here to join the IG, the officers and men of the Police and the families that have been rendered without their breadwinners on account of what has happened.
Thirdly, I am also here to continue to make the point as I did a couple of days ago on AIT when I made the point and I will contribute to make that point that the police is the most important law enforcement and security agency, the frontline agency in the fight against crime and criminality of all sorts.
Any country where the police is undermined and neglected, where the police is not funded, where the police officers are not trained properly, where the police officers have no equipment to work with, where the police officers have low morale, you cannot have security in any such country.
Moving forward, the solution and I am happy that most of us in the National Assembly understand that the police ought to be properly taken care of. I know that there are issues and discussions going on about devolution, but in whatever you do, you cannot do without the National Police, led by the Inspector General of Police.
Once again, I appreciate the IG and his officers and men for trying the best of what they are doing in very difficult circumstances and also use this opportunity to remind our nation and all of us who are in leadership that the sooner we go back to funding of the police as it was in those days, the better for everybody because the police is the only institution that has presence in all our communities and yet their vehicles cannot run, they do not even have vehicles and where they have vehicles, they cannot fuel or maintain. This causes low morale. There is also no money to train and equip officers, you cannot have security in a nation like that.
I believe that the police should occupy the front row once again. We have so disempowered the police. They keep carving out agencies from the police. Federal Road Safety Commission was carved out from the Police, Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency was carved out from the police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps was carved out from the police, the EFCC which ought to be the serious fraud office of the police was carved out from it. Anyway, we are not quarreling about that but what we are saying is that the sooner we address the issues of funding the police, the better for everybody because you cannot help security otherwise.
I thank the IG and his officers for doing the much that the the police is doing even in very trying circumstances. I wish the IG well and the members of the police and I assure them that they are not alone. All of us are with them in the fight against crime and criminality.
Thank you very much and God bless you all.