The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) and Partners West Africa Nigeria (PWAN) have said the police trust fund needs to be truly independent and free from government interference to perform effectively.
The groups said this on Thursday at a press conference on the assessment and implementation of the trust fund since its establishment two years ago.
RULAAC and PWAN said there are many barriers to the effective performance of the PTF.
“The structure of the PTF makes it impossible for it to operate like a trust fund. The trust fund is modelled like every other parastatal with layers of authority and approvals- Executive Secretary, Ministry of Police Affairs and the Federal Executive Council.
“The provision for an implementation committee and additional committees is needless bureaucracy.
“The PTF should be independent of the police and government bureaucracy,” the groups said.
‘Zero fund from PTF’
Okechukwu Nwanguma, the Executive Director of RULAAC, said it is not clear how much the PTF has accrued so far besides what was recently reported in the media as approvals by the NASS for the PTF.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that the National Assembly approved N74 billion budget for Police Trust Fund.
Mr Nwanguma said during a roundtable held on June 29 on the police trust fund they gathered that the police had not received any fund from the PTF in the last two years.
The roundtable was attended by over 18 participants including representatives from the Federal Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Police Affairs, Nigeria Police Force, National Human Rights Commission, civil society organistaions, and the private sector to evaluate the performance of the PTF after two years.
“The representative of the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police Force spoke on the dire funding deficit for the police and the need for the NPTF to be effectively managed to fulfil its mandate of filling the funding gap for the NPF, especially assisting with providing the enabling environment, tools, infrastructure, training and retraining to enhance police operations.
“He informed that a needs assessment was done by the NPF and sent to the PTF and that the NPF has so far received zero funds from the PTF,” Mr Nwanguma said.
The representative of the Nigerian Police said a needs assessment of the force was done between September and October 2020 which showed that the NPF would need, at the minimum, N1.8 trillion for one year.
The amount included the costs of police operational vehicles, arms and ammunition, protection gear, communication gadgets, accoutrements and others.
Despite the needs assessment and resource deficit experienced by the police, the NPF claimed it is yet to receive any funding from the trust fund.
RULAAC and PWAN said the PTF is a “quick intervention mechanism and should not be trapped in bureaucracy.”
“The IGP should be able to prepare a memo and send to the PTF itemising the immediate needs of the police and the BoT should be able to speedily take decisions.
“The PTF should speak out on their challenges and engage with civil society who can amplify their challenges and needs,” the groups said.
RULAAC and PWAN said there is the need to look into the Act establishing the PTF, identify all the barriers impeding its effectiveness and amend the Act as appropriate.
Identifying the key areas of the PTF Act that needs amendment, the groups said the PTF should report to the National Assembly and not to the President.
They added that the staff should not be civil servants seconded from different ministries.
Mr Nwanguma said CSOs will do an FOI to inquire how much the PTF has received so far and how much it has expended.
“The PTF needs to collaborate with relevant stakeholders such as Civil Society and the Federal Inland Revenue. The PTF must become visible, engage and communicate what they are doing and their challenges,” Mr Nwanguma said.
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