From a total of 400,000 police officers in the country, 150,000 of them are attached as guards to Very Important Personalities (VIPs) and some unauthorised persons.
This leaves the entire country with only 350,000 officers for the policing and protection over 180 million Nigerians in a total land mass of 923,768 km²
The startling revelation was disclosed on Sunday by the Police Service Commission (PSC), to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
PSC Chairman, Chief Mike Okiro stated that more than 150,000 police officers were attached to VIPs and unauthorised persons in the country, lamenting that such was not in the best interest of securing Nigerian citizens.
In 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that police personnel attached to unauthorised persons and VIPs be withdrawn and deployed to confront the security challenges across the country.
Okiro said: “We cannot afford to have more than half of the population of the police in private hands”.
He said that the commission in conjunction with the Nigeria Police Force had commenced the implementation of the withdrawal of police officers, but the exercise was stalled due to lack of funds.
“We could not sustain the enforcement of the order on the withdrawal of policemen attached to unqualified persons in the country because of lack of funds,” Okiro said.
He expressed disappointment at the practice where persons who served as ministers for over 10 to 15 years still go about with police security.
Okiro said that Nigeria cannot be battling with shortage of manpower in the force while majority of its officers would be in the service of a few privileged Nigerians.
The PSC boss said that that the number of police officers in the country was inadequate for the population, hence the request for the recruitment of more personnel.
He noted that the issue of paucity of funds had been the major problem hindering the recruitment of more policemen for enhanced service delivery.
“The Nigeria police Force is underfunded and not only in the area of manpower. The issue of funding is very strategic to the Nigeria Police Force. If you want to police Nigeria as it should be, the entire budget of Nigeria cannot be enough for that,” he said.
Okiro said that the Police Trust Fund Bill before the National Assembly if passed into law would help to address the issue of funding for the police.
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Author: Eugene Boahene