Corruption, least challenge of Nigeria Police – Ex-IGP, Okiro

A former Inspector-General of Police Mike Mbama Okiro, on Wednesday, said corruption was the least problem of the Nigeria Police Force.

He, however, revealed that poor funding was the biggest challenge of the Force,  and one of the reasons responsible for rising rate of  crimes and corruption in the country.

Okiro made this known during a radio programme, ‘Public Conscience,’ produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG) in Abuja.

He was reacting to an investigation by Daily Trust Newspapers which exposed that some police divisions received only N10, 000 monthly to run their operations -which meant Police stations in the country now depended on the money raised from unlawful acts such as bail fees, bribes, and extortion to ‘raise’ money for their day-to-day activities.

The former Police chief, who served between 2007–2009, disclosed that the Police under him also struggled with low budgetary allocation from the Federal Government, and noted that only 50 to 60 per cent of the Police budget was usually implemented which limited their productivity.

He argued that poor funding much more affected the output of Nigeria Police than issues of poor management and corruption.

“When I was the Inspector General of the Police, I was forced to give money down to the division. I donated and distributed money to all the divisions, and how much was it, N10,000 per quarter, to enable them to do certain things for themselves but that is not enough.

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“If there is a robbery, you tell the Police to come and there is no vehicle, even if there is a vehicle, there is no fuel for the vehicle. You don’t expect the policeman to trek covering meters to go and confront armed robbers.

“As a CP in Lagos, I was having N360,000  as a quarter fund to buy a vehicle. Can N360,000 buy and cater for a vehicle? It is not an issue of corruption, you can only corrupt what you get when there is no money where you will get to steal,” Okiro stated.

He backed the planned decentralisation of the Police to enable zones to receive their funds directly and distribute them to divisions under them while warning the government of the dangers of poor funding of Police in the country.

“Police is the lead agency in our internal security. Technically and logically, if our Police are not effective, our internal security will be in a shambles and that’s what we are getting now. No funding, no manpower in a country where we have millions of youths roaming the streets without employment. Going into crime becomes easy and yet the Police do not have enough manpower to do their jobs,” Okiro said.

Similarly, General Editor at Daily Trust Newspapers Hamza Idris stated that poor funding of the Police Force was largely responsible for the corruption associated with policemen.

He revealed that the idea behind the investigation was the prevailing security situation in the county, hence the media house decided to look at the systemic problems facing the Police in Nigeria.

According to Idris, with a strong and viable Police force, the nation would not have had numerous security outfits, and soldiers would hardly have been seen on the streets. Idris emphasised the need to salvage the Force by making more funds available and exploiting technology in policing.

On his part, Head of Judiciary Desk at Daily Trust Newspapers John Azu identified accountability as a major problem militating against proper utilisation of funds approved for the Nigerian Police Force.

According to him, besides the challenge of under-funding, the Nigerian Police were also faced with issues of corruption, integrity, or lack of moral status.




     

     

    “It is not a mystery whether corruption is directly linked to what is going on in our Police stations. Naturally, humans have this tendency to acquire more, so the police are part of society,” he said.

    “There is a mystery in the aspect of the utilisation of some of the support Police gets, especially in logistics. Annually state governments and organisations donate vehicles, equipment to the police which nobody gets to know the whereabouts of those facilities and vehicles.

    “I think that there is this detachment from the Police. Even among the personnel, accountability is an issue, and then lack of interest.

    “Maybe it’s a question of morale going down among the officers and men of the Force,” Azu stated.
    Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio programme used by PRIMORG to draw government and citizens’ attention to
    corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.

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