23rd June, 2015
The Inspector General of Police,
Nigeria Police Force,
Louis Edet House,
Area 11, Garki,
WITHDRAWAL OF MILITARY CHECKPOINTS AND THE IMPERATIVE OF A DOWNWARD REVIEW OF POLICE OFFICERS ATTACHED TO POLITICAL OFFICE HOLDERS.
Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) is a coalition of over hundred and fifty Anti-corruption organizations whose primary aim is to constructively combat corruption vigorously and to ensure the effective monitoring of the various Anti-graft agencies in the fight against corruption and contribute towards the enthronement of transparency, accountability, probity and total commitment in the fight to eradicate corruption in Nigeria.
In recent times, Nigerians have complained about inadequate policing of the country which has led to the soaring level of insecurity. Their is a general consensus on the inadequate equipping and understaffing of the Police to tackle the various forms of crimes that have plagued the society. This in turn has eroded citizens’ confidence in the capabilities of the Nigeria Police to the extent that many resort to self help in redressing violations and crimes.
A major factor underlying this unfortunate state of affairs is the inadequate number of police officers currently in the Nigeria Police Force. In stressing the inadequacy of personnel in the force, the Daily Independent in its publication of 22nd July, 2012 stated that;
“the cumulative total of police officers and rank and file in Nigeria is 310,177 (Ojukwu pg 395, 2011). Therefore, if we viewed this from the United Nations ratio of one police for 400 persons, and since Nigeria has a population of over 150,000,000; it requires 375,000 police men to meet the United Nations recommended strength. Unfortunately, what Nigeria has today is 310,177 given a shortfall of 64,823”.
However, the major problem still lies in the underutilization of the total number of policemen currently in the country due to the huge number attached to political office holders as aides, escorts, back-ups and security. In the aforementioned publication, it was stated that about 5600 policemen are attached to political and other high profile office holders, including first class traditional rulers. The publication stated:
“The legislative arm of the government consumes a sizable number of policemen assigned to the legislators as viz: Speaker about 50; Deputy Speaker 25; Majority Leader 20; Deputy Majority Leader 15; Chief Whip 12, Deputy Chief Whip 10, Minority Leader 10; Deputy Minority Leader 8, Minority Chief Whip 5 and then there is a number attached permanently to the Legislature, about 100 to guard the entire Three Arm Zone. Now to the Senate, the Senate President 50; Deputy Senate President 30; Senate Leader 20; Deputy Senate Leader 14; Senate Minority Leader 10; Deputy Minority Leader 5, Chairmen of House and Senate standing committees have about 45 for each chamber. This means two police men to each chairman. What is more, almost every senator has a policeman attached to him or her, which is a total of 109 policemen. On their part, most of the members of the House of Representatives make arrangements to secure the services of at least one police man attached to him or her. This approximates to 365.
Further, at the Federal level, there are about 42 Ministers including Ministers of State. Obviously, each Minister must have at least one policeman attached to him or her as an orderly and another to guard the residence of a Minister. The total number is approximated 84. In some cases, some high profile Ministers often make additional arrangements for additional deployment of police men. Thus, at the federal level, both the Executive and the Legislature may take as many as 800 (of course this may be grossly under-estimated) policemen.
On its side, the Judiciary takes its own chunk of policemen probably as follows: Chief Justice of the Federation may be assigned 10 police officers; President of Court of Appeal may get five; all the members of the Supreme Court may get at least two police officers each; other Appeal Court judges may get two each. Other Federal High Court Judges may get two police officers each as well.
Therefore, on the total, the Presidency, Legislature and Judiciary take approximately 950 from the police population. Of course, this is a conservative approximation. At the state level, Office of the Governor is likely to get approximately 30 policemen including those that follow him on a convoy, protect his office and house and of course at least two policemen in his country home as guards.
At the state level also, Speakers and other Principal Officers may get approximately 306 policemen. Chief Judges in the country and other judges will be assigned not less than 550 policemen. Stretching the matter statistically more, all the top Emirs, beginning with Sultan of Sokoto, will be assigned a platoon of police officers who may total about 240. In the South, high profile Obas, Igwes and Obis will have not less than 224 deployed to them and their palaces throughout the service. What is more painful and disgraceful is that apart from former governors and some deputy governors, those who contested Presidential and governorship election still have at least one policeman attached to them, totaling about 377. Therefore, conservatively, about 5,600 policemen are attached to high profile political office holders, senators, House of Representatives members, governors, House of Assembly principal officers etc with a shortfall of 64,823 added to 5,600. In addition are the 774 officers attached to chairmen of 774 local governments across the country. This brings the total shortfall of police to approximately 71,374”.
This situation subsists despite the inadequate policing of the country and the prevalent state of insecurity. More worrisome is the attachment of armed policemen to bank executives, private businessmen, artists and high profiled criminals in the society.
The recent presidential order for the withdrawal of military checkpoints across the country will inevitably stretch the capacity of the police force in combating crimes. It is therefore our opinion that if, in accordance with extant law, this number is drastically reduced to reasonable numbers and a large number of these police officers are withdrawn and drafted back to carry out their recognized duties of crime prevention and control, it would go a long way in reducing the crime rate and level of insecurity in the country, as well as closing the shortfall in the United Nations recommended police strength.
CSNAC is therefore by this petition demanding your urgent review of the situations and reduction in the number of policemen attached to political and high profile office holders throughout the country. This will contribute greatly to adequate policing of the country. You will agree with us that the primary responsibility of the Police force is to secure lives and properties of Nigerians in Nigeria and not a privileged few.
Thank you in anticipation of your urgent consideration.