By Ignatius Chukwu
Gov Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has joined voice in demanding for increased funding of the police.
He said this in the presence of the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, today, Friday, May 26, 2023, in Port Harcourt during the inauguration of Police Tactical Operations Centre in the hovernor’s hometown, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.
Gov Wike had in January 2022 secured a federal high court order stopping 0.5 per cent deductions from the federation account to fund the police. His suit said it was unconstitutional to deduct at source for any parastatal not listed in the constitution but that the FG should use their own share to fund the police.
The Police Act provided for deductions to fund the Trust Fund. Sections 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(b) of the law permits the deduction of 0.5 per cent of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account to be paid to the Nigerian Police Trust Fund (NPTF) to boost the funding of the Nigerian Police Force.
Gov Wike objected and secured a court order stopping it. Now, he is calling for more funds to the police.
The police got N871Bn in the 2023 budget but many described it as inadequate. Police budgets hardly give more than 10 per cent to capital and equipment as 90 per cent usually goes to the 301,000 police personnel and also for overhead.
Gov Wike is however in the forefront of giving funds directly to the state’s police command. He gave them vehicles, arms, welfare support including death benefit of N10m for any police or military operative killed in action. He also builds entire units of the police including intelligence unit to the admiration of the police national command.
Now, he has expressed the need for the federal government to increase funding to the Nigeria police to enable it perform better.
The governor maintained that any government that cannot protect life and property, fight crime, and make people live happily does not have any business in governance.
Speaking on Friday in Rumuepirikom community during the inauguration of Police Tactical Operations Centre in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Gov Wike said his administration understands such import and had unrelentingly provided necessary logistics to the State police command.
Such support, he noted, has strengthened the capacity of police officers to do their best in keeping crime rate at its lowest level in Rivers State.
“Ours is to provide the necessary logistics and allow the police and other sister agencies to carry out their function. When you provide the enabling and conducive environment, obviously officers and men of the security agencies will put in their best.
“I’m sure, when the tactical team, as the CP said, move in here the environment alone will allow them to put in their best.”
Gov Wike, however, corrected the thinking that only the federal government has the duties of fighting insecurity.
He stressed that the essence of governance is to protect life and leaving such role for the federal government alone is a slack in responsibility of any person in government.
“If you’re a governor, you’re a chairman of local council, if you’re a president and you can’t protect life and property of citizens then you have no business to talk about governance.
“So, don’t go home and sleep that it is the responsibility of federal government to fight insecurity, no. Every tier of government has that responsibility to fight crime and make sure people live happily.”
Gov Wike commended the Inspector General of Police for not changing commissioners of police posted to Rivers State incessantly.
This, he pointed out, has helped to stabilise the security architecture and strategies deployed in fighting crime and criminality.
Gov Wike also acknowledged that a new commissioner of police has been posted to the State and urged him to sustain the crime fighting tempo.
He stated that the incoming governor, Siminalayi Fubara, will not tolerate it if the crime rate increases, when it should be fought to minimum level.
Inaugurating the Police Tactical Operations Centre, Inspector General of Police, Baba, said police officers in Rivers State are lucky because of the good working tools and conducive environment provided for them.
IGP Baba noted that while the Nigeria police is contemplating adopting E-policing strategies, the Rivers State government has taken the led by proving E-policing enabling equipment and centres that will make tracking, patrolling, raiding, stop and search operations possible without being on the road.
“I want to pledge that I will support this tactical operation unit with an armored personnel carrier, two gun-trucks made of pickup and I will also give arms and ammunition dedicated to this place. That is our contribution at the headquarters level.”
Former Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command, Effiong Okon, said the Police Tactical Operations Centre provided by the Wike’s administration is the first in the country.
Okon listed anti-cultism, Anti-kidnapping, and C4i tactical teams as the three out of the 13 Tactical Teams in Rivers State that will be stationed at the centre.
Former Commissioner for Works, George-Kelly Dakorinama Alabo, explained that the Police Tactical Operations Center has 20 number offices.