FG begins major police reforms, sets annual recruitment target

The Federal Government says it has begun major reforms of the Nigeria Police Force part of which is an annual recruitment target planned to increase the force both numerically and in equipment.

President Muhammadu Buhari stated this Tuesday in Port Harcourt during the official commissioning of the Nigeria Police Special Protection Unit Base 6, Omagwa, Rivers State built and donated to the police by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the event, Buhari said that provision of accommodation for men and officers was an important feature of the reform, saying that he had directed that the building of barracks for men and women of the police force should be done in collaboration with the social housing effort or the family homes fund.

He added that the move would ensure speedy execution of all of the projects and all of the barracks that need to be provided.

The president said: “Our police force is a crucial component of our law enforcement architecture. They are the civil force, the closest to the people in the various communities. In the past months, we have been undertaking a major reform of the police. For us, we believe that we must increase the number of police personnel. So we have set yearly recruitment targets we are also in the process of re-equipping our personnel, both in personal gear and hardware.

“Funding of the police force remains a huge challenge which is why we work with the national assembly to enact the police trust fund Act. We are looking at other measures to improve funding for the police.”

He explained that the commissioning of the project was to meet two objectives; the first being that it is an important part of the government effort to improve the lives and livelihood of the police officers and men.

“And it is also another important milestone, in our administration’s pursuit of the peace, prosperity and the development of the Niger Delta. We recognized that establishing adequate security is absolutely integral to the fulfilment of this administration objective which is why we have committed significant resources to projects that we are about to commission.

“This project is important because it is a means by which we can alleviate the accommodation challenges of senior security personnel posted to Rivers State and ultimately enhance the security footprint in the region.

“The cumulative impact of this and other similar projects will be the improvement of security in the state and a consolidation of the economic and social life of the people of this area.”

In his remarks, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike commended the NDDC for completing the project, saying that there was no reason the project which was awarded in 2012 would have been abandoned in the first place.

He said that if the NDDC had not returned to complete the project, he would have taken over the project about seven months ago because the place was taken over by criminals.

Wike said: “7 months ago, I decided to take over this property for security purposes. The project shouldn’t have lasted the length of time it took but because projects were awarded politically and without funding why would they not be abandoned?”

He alleged that the NDDC has been a cash cow for politicians with portfolio contractors all over, saying “the problem of the NDDC is that of entire Nigeria. Let us allow NDDC work.”

The governor urged the NDDC to always synergise with state governments on the execution of projects so as to avoid duplication of projects and distorting the development plans of the state.

He warned the Commission to pay their counterpart N2.5-Billion for the dualisation of the road leading to the NDDC corporate headquarters threatening to block the road against the commission if on completion they have not paid the money.

Also speaking, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, stated that the NDDC was getting to the point where every kobo allocated to it must count.

“Things are changing and will continue to change,” he said adding that the commission would soon be commissioning another completed project in Ondo South, an electricity project aimed at connecting several communities in the Ondo South local government to the national grid.

The former governor of Akwa-Ibom State assured that everything would be done to ensure the completion of the East-West road from Delta State to Oron in Akwa-Ibom State while noting that the NDDC has 13,777 abandoned projects scattered across the nine states that make up the Niger Delta.

Akpabio promised that government would look at the abandoned projects and select for completion those that would be of benefit to the people.

In his address, the Interim Administrator/Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Efiong Akwa explained the NDDC had to return to complete the project in compliance with the directives of the President to complete all abandoned projects that have a direct impact on the people.

He said that the completion of the project was a manifestation of the commitment of the NDDC management to fostering security in Rivers State, especially in the vicinity where is sited and a step towards reducing the 17-million housing deficit in the country.

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