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FEATURES: Tinubu’s 1 Year In Office: Matters Arising On Police Welfare

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Over the years, the dehumanising working conditions of police officers, especially the rank and file, has been a striking point.

Successive administrations have largely ignored it and where remedial measures were taken they were grossly inadequate.

Promises to improve their salaries, barracks, allowances and other welfare packages were often unfulfilled.

Security experts say these challenges hindered professionalism, effective service delivery in a system where success largely depends on welfare of personnel.

They have been calls for deliberate policies to improve police welfare in the areas of housing, promotion, medics, wards and children’s education, pension and gratuities.

The experts also called on the authorities to provide care for families of officers who died in active service.

Prominent Nigerians have called for better welfare package for policemen and women.

Former Bauchi State governor, Alhaji Isa says doing do would ensure effective and efficient service delivery.

Yuguda spoke during public presentation of a book, Police and Administration of Criminal Justice in Nigeria, Contemporary Evaluation.

“There must be incentive package for police personnel to discourage them from accepting incentives to do wrong and to ensure effective and efficient service delivery.

“Government must invest and not neglect the Nigeria Police to expect better service delivery,” he said.

The bridge the working equipment gap, some governors have made donations to the police command in their states.

For instance, recently Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun used the occasion of visit by Egbetokun to donate 25 new patrol vehicles and a state-of-art surveillance drones to the police command in the state.

The Lagos-Ibandan expressway is one of the most difficult areas to police in the country with kidnapping and armed robbery being a regular occurrence on the road.

“One of the reasons why we took the decision to acquire this drone was because of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

“It remains one of our most vulnerable points for those that are travelling through Ogun state, being the gateway to the rest of the country and the West African sub-region”, the governor told Egbetokun

Upon the appointment of Mr Olukayode Egbetokun as the 22nd Inspector-General of Police (I-G) by President Bola Tinubu on June 19, 2023 he identified the welfare of personnel as a cornerstone of his reign.

Egbetokun held that a key aspect of enhancing officers’ conditions was the provision of appropriate housing during and after their service and payment of insurance claims to families of officers who died in active.

He said the current housing capacity meets only about 10 per cent of the needs of more than 400,000 strong workforce of the Nigeria Police.

The I-G, therefore, hinted on plans to establish N100 billion Police Housing Fund to address the housing needs of personnel.

Care and support have been extended to the families of deceased officers as the I-G recently presented N1.6 billion to families of 727 of such officers.

He said the money was the insurance claim for the deceased officers covering 2018/2019, 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 under the Group Life Assurance Policy of the Nigeria Police Force.

The welfare and professionalism among police personnel has received attention from the highest office in the country.

Tinubu, at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Police Awards and Commendations ceremony, stressed the need for more training to with the 21st century police expectations.

“In our tradition of honouring the Police Force in the life of this great nation, we have approved the adoption of the first week of April as Police Week. Furthermore, the last day of the week, the 7th of April, is hereby declared National Police Day in Nigeria.

“I must remind you that we don’t see you as just the shields of the nation. We don’t see you as robots. We humanise you,” Tinubu was quoted by media as saying.

Tinubu lauded the conceptualisation of Police Veterans’ Foundation, an initiative of Dr Solomon Arase, a former I-G and Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC).

“The conceptualisation of the Police Veterans’ Foundation which has crystalised to its is not only thoughtful but a great initiative.  It is important we reflect on the cost of peace and security in Nigeria’’ he said.

“This is to enable us fully appreciate and thank our Police veterans, for placing the nation’s security before their own lives,” he said.

He said the courage, sacrifices and commitment of the veterans to peace and security, had created a huge debt that Nigeria cannot commensurately repay.

Alhaji Mogaji Ibrahim-Olaniyan, National Chairman of the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), said the appointment of Egbetokun by Tinubu as the I-G has led to giant strive to enhance the welfare of the welfare of police personnel.

According to him, the initiation of the award scheme was inspiring and motivating and enjoined Nigerians to support the current police leadership and urged the Federal Government to make fund available for the Nigeria Police operations.

While the past year has given police personnel a glimpse of hope concerning their welfare observers say the authorities should match words with action.

They also call for more equipment to bring the police at par with its counterparts in other parts of the world. (NANFeatures)

By Monday Ijeh, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)


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