NIGERIANS are split over the rightness of branding police operational cars with Dangote Foundation because the cars were donated by the African richest man, Aliko Dangote.
A report by The ICIR, detailed how 150 cars donated by the industrialist to the police have been branded with his foundation’s name and logo of Dangote Group.
“Donated by the Dangote Foundation” is boldly written on the police patrol cars that have been sighted in Abuja and across some states.
The logo and name of the donor overshadowed that of the police and onlookers could be confused about whether the cars belong to the police or Dangote.
The 150 Trumpchi GA3S cars were purchased from the Chinese automaker, GAC Group.
The federal government and the police authority had praised Dangote for the donation but many Nigerians have condemned the branding of the police cars with a private organisation.
As approved by #IGPIdris, the 150 fully equipped cars donated to @PoliceNG by the @AlikoDangote Foundation are allocated to FCT Abuja & 36 State Commands.
Cars will only be for 24/7 Anti-Crime patrol duties on all ???????? roads, respond to distress calls across Nigeria & police Ops. pic.twitter.com/xLPT1xr3yo
— Abayomi Shogunle (@YomiShogunle) May 31, 2018
Following The ICIR report, many Nigerians said such branding is wrong while others see no wrongdoing if the donors choose to have their names on the police patrol cars.
A US-based Nigerian Professor and public affairs analyst, Farooq Kperogi, pointed out that there is a conflict of interest when police accept cars from a private entity and brand the cars with the donor’s name.
“There’re conflict-of-interest issues that bubble to the surface when a private citizen donates cars to the police. Given the Nigeria Police’s notoriety for invidiousness, it’s akin to buying oneself immunity from the law. Branding the cars with the name of the donor is beyond the pale,” Kperogi said.
A Facebook user, Adeniyi Sofuye, asked: “What will run through your mind if you have a clash with some people in Dangote branded vehicle, the police is invited and some policemen arrive in Dangote branded police van?”
Another Facebook user, Raji Bello, suggested that police should not accept gift directly from individuals but rather government should create a trust fund to channel such donations to the police
“It’s not whether they should use his logo after donating, the point is they shouldn’t have accepted his donation directly. If private businesses want to donate to police, the government should create a fund into which all the donations will be paid. No business should give police directly,” Bello said.
Similar to Bello’s suggestion, Duke Imevbore Aigboje said branding the cars with Dangote Foundation is wrong, suggesting that the police should learn from Lagos State.
“It is totally wrong,” Aigboje said. “The Lagos State Security Trust Fund is largely bankrolled by commercial banks. They fund most of the police equipment including vehicles without appending their insignia to such instruments.
“This image either diminishes the impartiality of the police or elevates Dangote brand above the other private entities”
A Facebook user, Ugwu Lawrence, expressed concern about the integrity of the police in instituting the practice of branding of police cars with donor’s name.
“This not about Dangote or Dangote Foundation. It is about protecting the integrity of security agencies in Nigeria particularly the Nigeria Police,” Ugwu said.
In as much as many Nigerians have condemned the branding of police patrol cars with Dangote, others have found no wrongdoing in such branding.
A Facebook user, Daramola Johnson, said: “Please buy patrol cars for the Nigerian Police and don’t brand them. I promise you, we will return the ones Dangote bought. Yeye media people. Always look out for who to condemn.”
Also, Atoyebi Oyetade said: “What is wrong in that? You too can donate and with your name boldly written on it, the fact remain that Dangote has demonstrated a philanthropic gesture towards strengthening and empowering the police.”
A Facebook user, Funmilade Yisa-Adebanjo said such branding of police property with donors’ names did not start with Dangote.
“Most of the gates in Police stations across Lagos state were donated by Welders’ Associations in the areas the stations are located and the gates are branded as donation from these Welders,” Yisa-Adebanjo said.
“In some communities, the community associations donated vehicles to Police and they are branded as such. Nothing wrong in branding those cars from Dangote.”
Musbahu Dahiru asked “Why not, nothing wrong with it. This is to show his patriotism to his nation.”
Although a significant number of Nigerians who reacted to The ICIR report said nothing is wrong with branding patrol cars, a security analyst, Ben Okezie said such practice is wrong because it demeans the police.