President Muhammadu Buhari Monday assured the Nigeria police that his administration will continue to give attention to both their welfare and their operational needs with a view to restoring its lost primacy in the internal security framework of the country.
The President gave the assurance when he granted audience to members of the Nigeria Police Service Commission and the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force at the Presidential Villa.
The visitors were on a “Thank You” visit following Buhari’s approval of Rank Salary Structure Adjustment, by which salary, allowances and pension of policemen will be increased.
President Buhari, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, regretted that the inability of the police in their constitutional role as the frontline force in the prevention of crime, had led to military involvement in the maintenance of law and order throughout the country.
He said, “From Taraba to Sokoto, to the South-South, people don’t feel secure until they see the military. I am pleased to make the increase in salary and allowances in the hope that it will increase the performance index of the police and strengthen Nigeria’s internal security system.”
He observed that the more efficient the police is, the more confident the government and citizens will be.
According to him, “The military should be reserved for higher tasks. The police should be able to cope well with the challenges of armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom and such crimes. In every town and village, there is the presence of the police.
“From all these places, they should be able to forward first class intelligence to you on which to act.
“There is a need to amplify the question of more men of the police, especially given the condition we are in – emergency in the North-East, pervasive insecurity and abduction for ransom and banditry in many parts of the country.
“I congratulate you on the success you recorded against criminals taxing people and stopping them from their farms. We are expecting more from you,” the President told the police.”
Full-time Commissioner in the Nigeria Police Service Commission, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi (rtd), who represented the chairman, Musiliu Smith, had informed the President that the Rank Salary Structure Adjustment would enhance police welfare and morale.
The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, also assured that the police would redouble efforts to ensure free, fair and credible elections throughout the country next year.
Speaking with State House correspondents on the forthcoming elections at the end of the meeting, the IGP said, “We are ready; we have gone round the country; we have conducted several bye-elections which obviously prepared us to face the main challenge next.
“I am assuring all Nigerians that we are going to do our best in ensuring that we have a free and credible election next year.
“Obviously, we have the equipment but if we can get more, we will appreciate it.”
On the welfare of the Police Force, he said that he was excited with the whole commitment and efforts aimed at improving not only the salary but the training of the Nigeria Police Force.
He also said that he was expecting more dedication and loyalty to government and people of Nigeria from the officers and men of the Nigeria Police.
Also Justice Clara Ogunbiyi said that the welfare of Nigeria Police needed to be enhanced because the idea of security had become critical.
Policemen, she said, should be encouraged as the entire populace will like to see them perform maximally.
She said, “We are here on behalf of the PSC to appreciate the President Muhammadu Buhari for seeing it to enhance the welfare of Nigeria Police.
“To enhance in their emolument generally and to see that things are improved not only in terms of salaries and allowances but also seeing that infrastructure is improved; their working conditions, training expected of the police.
“In our recent retreat; we were in Enugu and we saw that a lot of the training facilities are in deplorable condition.
“We will want to see that our policemen are properly trained; and our police will be able to match up with any police force anywhere in the world,
“This is one the reasons why we think we need to encourage the government to do that and the president is doing same in the right direction,’’ she said.