ADDRESS BY THE HON. CHAIRMAN POLICE SERVICE COMMISSION MR. PARRY B. O. OSAYANDE DIG (rtd), CFR, OFR, NPM, Mni, ON THE OCCASSION OF THE 2nd BIENNIAL RETREAT OF THE COMMISSION TAGGED “REPOSITIONING THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE FOR THE CHALLENGES OF POLICING A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY IN THE 21st CENTURY AND BEYOND”
HOLDING AT THE LE MERIDIEN HOTEL UYO, AKWA IBOM STATE FROM THE 1st - 4th Nov. 2010.
It is my profound pleasure to welcome all of you to the 2nd Biennial Retreat of the Police Service Commission holding today in Uyo, the Capital of Akwa Ibom State. The Biennial Retreat was instituted by the current Commission soon after its inauguration in 2008. The first Retreat was held in Ada, Osun State in August 2008. The theme of this year’s retreat is ‘Repositioning the Nigeria Police Force for the challenges of policing a Democratic Society in the 21st Century and beyond’.
This is the second Police Service Commission in the Country in over three decades of our national history, due to the incessant incursion into governance by the Military. The statutory powers and functions of the Commission are enshrined in Section 153(1) (M) of the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, and further reinforced by Section 6 (1) and (2) of the Police Service Commission (Establishment) Act 2001. The functions includes but not limited to:-
(a) the appointment of persons into Offices (other than the Office of the Inspector General of Police) in the Nigeria Police Force;
(b) formulate policies and guidelines for the appointment, promotion, discipline, and dismissal of officers of the Nigeria police Force;
(c) formulate and implement policies aimed at the efficiency and discipline of the Nigeria Police Force; and
(d) Perform such other functions, which in the opinion of the Commission, are required to ensure the optimal efficiency of the Nigeria Police Force.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is pursuant to this statutory mandate that the Commission deemed it necessary to institute this Biennial Retreat which is expected to serve as a forum for interaction and harnessing of ideas that are ultimately required in ensuring the optimal effectiveness of the Force in its daunting task of law enforcement in Nigeria.
During the 30 years of Military rulership in Nigeria, the Force was abandoned and neglected by successive Governments. There was acute shortage of office and Barracks accommodation, salaries were meager and allowances were not paid, there was no logistic support like transport and communication equipment, and police welfare was generally poor, and above all, there was abuse of fundamental human rights of citizens with impunity. There was no observance of the rule of law and in fact the police was made to enforce two sets of laws in Nigeria; a set for the rich, and the other for the poor.
Against this background, and whilst being bedeviled with a myriad of acute problems, the Nigeria police Force failed woefully in the discharge of its statutory duties of prevention and detection of crime, and the protection of lives and property. It has been found to be desperately wanting in supporting successive Administrations in fulfilling the primary purpose of government in any democratic society, which is the maintenance of law and order, and the protection of lives and property of its citizens. The situation was further compounded by the same Governments by assenting to needless proliferation of parallel security Agencies in the Country. These include the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, Federal Road Safety Commission, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp, Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency, etc. Consequently, the scarce resources that could have been used to strengthen the various organs of the Nigeria Police Force for effective performance, was expended in creating and sustaining these white elephant security agencies. This has led to frequent frictions amongst them over issues of mandate and jurisdiction.
However, the advent of the Yar’adua/Goodluck Administration marked the beginning of a new era for the Nigeria Police Force, in that the same Administration had soon enough set up the M. D. Yusuf Presidential Committee on Police Reforms. The President had earlier on reiterated that: “this Administration will not relent in its commitment to transform the Nigeria Police Force into a highly modern and responsive Force”. Consequently, the M. D. Yusuf Committee had diagnosed the problems of the Police and also suggested solutions to them in its Report. The Document which was presented to Govt., had identified amongst others, the calculated, consistent, and sustained underfunding of the Force by successive Administrations over a long period of time as one of the most serious problems that has undermined the Force, and continued to afflict it till today. The problem then multiplied and led to other problems like corruption, leadership failure within the Police itself, extra-judicial killings, and generally the non-observance of the rule of law.
It is however gladdening to note that almost all the Committee’s recommendations as well as those of the previous Danmdami Committee Report on how to reform and reposition the Nigeria Police Force, were fully accepted and approved by the Federal Govt., and are set forth in a Federal Govt. White Paper for implementation.
The Nigeria police Force is indeed fortunate, and by extension the Nigerian Public as well. This Administration has reiterated that it places a very high premium on security in all its ramifications and will spare no effort in giving its desired attention in the discharge of its obligation to the People. Consequently for the purpose of repositioning the Police, and in order to enable it cope with the challenges of effectively policing the Country, all the three tiers of Government, i.e. the Federal, States, and Local Governments, have agreed to make contributions of funds into a common kitty which will be used in implementing the Nigeria Police Reform Programs, as well as ensure an adequate funding for the Police in the years ahead..
The Police Service Commission, as an executive body with oversight functions over the Nigeria police Force, has soon after its inauguration in April 2008, undertaken a working tour of the entire 36 States of the Federation plus the FCT, in the course of which it had met and interacted with State Governors and members of their State executive Councils, the Police Zonal AIGs, Commissioners of Police of State Commands, serving Police Officers, Chairmen of Councils of Traditional Rulers, Members of the Association of Retired Police Officers, Members of the Police Community Relations Committees, and the Members of the Press, both in the print and electronic media, as well as the general public.
The exercise has afforded us an opportunity to obtain first hand information from all the aforementioned parties, and collate sufficient data and other relevant information that has formed the basis of our programs and policies in discharging our statutory duties. Since then the Commission has implemented some pragmatic programs aimed at repositioning the Force for optimum performance. For instance in the areas of promotion, the Commission has addressed issues of irregular promotions that has run counter to extant rules and regulations, and the known established criteria for such exercise in the Force. The Commission also introduced a new scheme of service for the Specialist cadre, and its service guidelines. In the area of training and retraining, the Commission has continued to implement the government white paper on promotion whereby promotion in the Force are now tied to, amongst other things, the passing of prescribed examinations, which has to be on merit, and subject to the availability of vacancies.
In addition, a Corporate Induction Compendium for Cadet Officers was also introduced by the Commission. In it, the Career prospects of such Cadets Officers in the Force was outlined.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in our desire to reposition the Nigeria Police Force, we in the Commission will continue to cooperate, collaborate, and partner with the Police Council, the National Assembly Committees on Police Affairs in both the Senate and House of Representatives, the Ministry of Police Affairs, and the Office of the Inspector General of Police and above all members of the general public. We intend to work together as team so as to achieve this national objective of transforming the Police Force into an effective and efficient modern Police Force.
At this juncture, let me thank our host, His Excellency, Dr. Obong Godswill Akpabio, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State and his Government for giving the Commission the required support to ensure a successful Retreat. It is most gratifying that His Excellecy also accepted, in spite of his tight schedule, to honour the Commission with his presence and to deliver a keynote address at this opening ceremony.
I would like to also extend the Commission’s appreciation to the Honourable Minister of police Affairs, Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri, OFR, FCEC, for not only honouring the Commission with his presence and financial support, but also for being of great assistance to us in organising this Retreat. Of equal importance, we also wish to express our appreciation to the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Hafiz Abubkar Ringim, NPM, mni, and the Commissioner of Police, Akwa-Ibom state, for the assistance given to the Commission towards a successful organization of the Retreat. I also thank Members of the Commission, as well as Exxon Mobil for it’s enormous contribution to the Commission in this regard.
Once again I welcome you all to Akwa Ibom State, the Land of Promise, and wish you very fruitful deliberations at the end of which we hope to come out with a worthwhile Communiqué.
Thank you all for listening, and God be with you.