Ahead of the general elections, the Federal Government has approved the procurement of 2,564 operational vehicles for the Nigeria Police Force.
The first batch of 363 vehicles was commissioned on Sunday, 13 days to the presidential elections, by Vice President Namadi Sambo,
The Federal Government said it expects that the deployment of the vehicles will translate to enhanced surveillance of the communities in order to improve citizen safety and security.
Reading from President Goodluck Jonathan’s prepared speech, the Vice President said this was part of the reform programme of the Nigeria Police, estimated to cost N1.5 trillion over a period of six years.
He stated that government had appropriated about N125 billion on the implementation of the Reform Programme from 2010 to 2013.
“The procurement of these vehicles is aimed at boosting the capacity of the Nigeria Police Force to deliver effectively and efficiently in that direction.
“It is my hope that the Nigeria Police Force will reciprocate this gesture of government by supporting the INEC and other actors in ensuring the conduct of free and fair elections this month. Beyond this, it is also expected that the deployment of these operational vehicles will translate to enhanced surveillance of our communities in order to improve citizen safety and security,” he said.
Mr. Jonathan commended police officers for their selfless service and determination to rid the country of crime, while also condoling the families of personnel that died in the course of service to Nigeria. He stated his determination to bequeath to the country a world class, people-oriented police.
“I am fully aware of what you are going through, and I commiserate with you and offer my profound condolences to the entire family members of the deceased Officers. I appreciate, commend and salute your courage, patriotism and selfless service to our dear Country” he said.
In his remark, the Minister of Police Affairs, Jelili Adesiyan, said the procurement of the vehicles was the single largest by any government in Nigeria.
Speaking, the Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, expressed gratitude to Mr. Jonathan for his commitment to the Nigeria Police Reform Programme. He pledged the dedication of the police to deliver on its constitutional mandate of effective policing.
A total of 170 pick-up vans, 129 double cabin patrol vehicles, 50 four wheel drives, as well as 10 double cabin armoured patrol vans, including four 4X4 armoured personnel carriers were commissioned at the Eagles Square.
Mr. Abba emphasized that the procurement was being undertaken by an indigenous company in line with government policy.
He said the delivery of the vehicles would boost the preparedness of the police in providing adequate security during the elections, while also calling on other tiers of government and stakeholders to join hands with the Federal Government to raise adequate fund for the police.