The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Center (RULAAC), has called for strict compliance to the Police Service Act to promote transparency and accountability in it’s operations.
The Executive Director of RULAAC, Mr Okechukwu Nwanguma, who made the call at the National Performance Assessment Meeting of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (PTF) in Abuja, said it would help put an end to the secrecy that shrouds the police budget and financial processes which are needlessly treated as classified information.
“Beginning from January 2022, RULAAC and the consortium members had gone round the 6 geopolitical zones of the country and inaugurated a CSO-PTF Support and Oversight Group in each zones to observe and act as a catalyst to spur the Police Trust Fund in delivering on its mandate”. He said.
Mr Nwanguma, stated that the broad objective of the CSOs PTF project being implemented by the Consortium, was to promote police accountability and entrench a rights-respecting policing atmosphere in Nigeria in line with democratic values.
Mr Nwanguma, said despite measures to promote transparency in the PTF, there are still issues with the activities of the Fund and the defects of the Act, as regards the constitution of the Board of the trust Fund.
He however advised that the Police develop an Annual Policing Plan with an inclusive bottom to top budget that considers imputes from the lowest level of NPF to the Force Headquarters.
Contributing, a Director at the Police Service Commission, Aminu Abubakar, who observed that a major challenge for the PSC has been the appointment of ex-police personnel to chair the PSC, stressed the need for a seasoned administrator to chair the Commission.
He also noted paucity of funds is another major challenge of the PSC, and suggested the release of some of the funds allocated to PTF to the PSC to enable it carry out its mandate effectively.
The Executive Secretary of the NHRC Anthony Ojukwu represented by a Senior Legal Officer at the Commission, NHRC, Naiyeju Bukunmi, described the efforts by RULAAC and members of the Consortium as commendable and pledged the Commission’s readiness to support the initiative.
A representative of the CLEEN Foundation, Mr Olaniyi Olumuyiwa, also a member of the corsortiom said “the aim of the trust fund was to see how the problem of funding for the police would be solved once and for all, but it appears nothing has been done”.
He urged CSOs to continue to push and ask questions until the desired objective of the Police Trust fund is achieved.
The PTF Act 2019, was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, to address the perennial underfunding of the Police by providing an additional window for police funding.
Reporting by Julian Osamoto; Editing by Chinasa Ossai