Caught red-handed and pants down! That is how best to describe the fate of the management of the Police College in Ikeja, during the recent unscheduled visit by President Goodluck Jonathan, where he saw, first-hand, the extremely deplorable state of the institution. The President had stopped by at the academy enroute Abidjan for a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). His visit had been prompted by a special serialized documentary story featured on Channels Television, Lagos, showcasing the utter mess that the police academy had become.
The Channels Television feature had captured the deplorable state of the student hostels and rooms, beds and beddings; poor state of hygiene in the hostel and dining areas; total collapse of the toilets and sewage system; very pathetic feeding of the students; among other critical conditions that should not be present in such an institution. The documentary had created a grim picture of a wild community, a sort of prison yard fit enough only for hardened criminals.
The rot in the institution and the visit of the President had precipitated an inquest by the Senate into the entire saga. The upper chamber wondered how the college could have degenerated to such preposterous level. Taking a holistic approach to the issue, Senate concluded a plan to probe how funds allocated to police colleges have been disbursed over the years. The Chairman of Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan (ANPP, Yobe North), disclosed that police authorities have been invited to the hallowed chambers to account for how monies budgeted for police colleges had been utilized.
The Senate Committee chairman lamented the discovery of the President and the deplorable state of the college, making it clear that the facts showed that institutions given the task to cater for the welfare of police officers have failed. Senator Lawan disclosed that when the summoned police authorities showed up, they would be accounting for the funds allocated to the police. He further stated that the Senate would also be beaming its searchlight into the disbursement and use of resources of the Nigeria Police, while sanctioning anyone found culpable.
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The Senate vowed to expand beyond the police college as the rot captured by both Channels and the president were indicative of the fact that all was not well with the Nigeria Police as an organization. “First, we have to determine whether the funds were adequate so that if the funds were not adequate, we like to see how prudent, economically and efficiently the scare resources were utilized. If however, the funds were enough and that someone failed to do his or her duty, we will surely recommend serious sanctions for whoever is responsible,” the Senate Committee chairman had disclosed, regretting however that the National Assembly too had not lived up to its responsibility in its oversight function as it did not uncover these rots long before the expositions on television and eventual confirmation by the president.
If there have been doubts that democracy is truly at work in Nigeria, the Channels reports, President Jonathan’s visit and the Senate prompt response should foreclosed that. Channels Television therefore deserves commendation for its far-sightedness and doggedness in capturing all that is there to know and for throwing up this new course for attention from the responsible quarters. President Jonathan also deserves kudos for the unscheduled fact-finding visit.
It is clear from all of the mess gathered that the Police Affairs Ministry, Police Service Commission, Inspector-General of Police, as well as the management of the Ikeja police college have cases to answer and explanations to make. They are the custodians of the police organization and as such should be held responsible for any decay in the institution.
Our take on this matter is that all these relevant bodies ought to have been conducting a regular inspection of the police colleges in the nation. Likewise, we think there has been a careless lag in the area of periodic check of the activities of agencies of state, to ensure that funds are being appropriated legally and properly. We think this sudden show of concern of Senate over the affair of the police organization as well as spontaneous act only after the discovery is medicine after death and a demonstration of inadequacy in its constitutional oversight tasks. While we rebuke the legislative house for that, we nevertheless commend it for still acting all the same. We also look forward to an address by the president on the state of the police to underscore the importance of such shocking and embarrassing discoveries about an institution that is meant to secure the society in this age of festering criminal activities. Jonathan’s response will go a long way in setting out a roadmap for addressing the problem and act as marching orders for a quick arrest of the situation.
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