Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Minister, IG on collision course over police funds

Minister of Police Affairs  Caleb Olubolade  and the Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Abubakar may be on collision course  over the decay  in the police colleges and the  control of police funds, it has been revealed.
Our correspondent also  learnt that the duo  might be summoned by President Goodluck Jonathan to explain the poor conditions of the Police College, Ikeja Lagos,  and other police schools.
It was learnt  that the ministry has continued to ignore the terrible conditions of the institutions, though it budgets funds for them annually.
Sources claimed  that the annual budgetary allocations to the colleges were not being utilised by the ministry.
It was learnt that the IG had not been on good terms with the minister over the situation of the force.
It was learnt  that  Abubakar  upon assuming office had to sourced  money from friends to procure  some  equipment  for some police colleges following his inability to get the ministry to make funds available.
It was learnt  that Abubakar’s plans for the force to partner with  the private sector to rehabilitate police facilities have the support of the Police Service Commission,  which is said to be working for the scrapping of the police affairs ministry.
Sources told our correspondent that both  the police hierarchy and the PSC   expect the government to act on  the  report  of the Presidential Committee on Police Reform,  recommending  the scrapping of the police affairs ministry.
A source said, “Senior police officers were happy with the recommendation for the scrapping of the ministry because it will enable the police to use its money as it deemed fit, but the government has been reluctant to implement the recommendations. This was attributed to the fact that the minister is close to the President and Jonathan would not want to hurt his confidant by scrapping the ministry.”
Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba,  denied that there was a rift between  Olubolade  and Abubakar.
Also, the PSC Chairman, Parry Osayande, declined comments  on the decay in police colleges.
He said, “What do you expect me to say? Everyone knows the ministry caused the rot in the college. So, go and meet them and ask them questions. My job as PSC  chairman is to recruit, discipline and promote policemen.”
However, spokesperson for the commission,  Ms. Comfort Obi,  said the police should have total control over their funds.
She said, “I have been to all the commands and what they complained about is that they send these contractors from Abuja and that police commissioner cannot ask questions. The AIG cannot ask questions and because they are sent from Abuja by the ministry to build boreholes or barracks, they don’t know what the police commands need. If they (police) are allowed to control their budget, they should be able to know. Look at  how the police colleges are.”
The Ministry of Police Affairs could not be reached for comments as calls to its Deputy Director, Information, Mr. James Odaudu,  indicated that his phone was switched off.
Meanwhile,  former IG,  Alhaji Mohammed Gambo-Jimeta,  has called on  Jonathan  to address the deplorable conditions  of the  police colleges.
Gambo-Jimeta, a former National Security Adviser,  who spoke in Abuja while reacting to the President’s visit to the  Police College, Ikeja,  stated  that  the visit had portrayed Jonathan as “a feeling president who sees wrongs and corrects them”.
He urged the President to identify all the officials  responsible for the ugly situation of the Police colleges and bring them to book.
He  said, “My joy has no bounds when I saw the President himself at the Police college after  Channels Television showed the decrepit and most horrible situation in that premier training institution for our Police officers and men. Mr. President’s prompt response to be there could only come from a very decent heart that requires the type of change this country wants.”
According to him, the video footage of the terrible condition of the police college depressed him when he saw it on  Channels Television, adding that the institution had deteriorated badly from its pristine form when he attended it between 1958 and 1960.

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