Distinguished guests, I warmly welcome you all on behalf of the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of CLEEN Foundation to this Roundtable Dialogue on the implementation of the Police Trust Fund Act 2019. The CLEEN Foundation (formerly known as Centre for Law Enforcement Education in Nigeria) is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization established in January 1998 with the mission of promoting public safety, security and accessible justice through the strategies of empirical research, legislative advocacy, demonstration programmes and publications, in partnership with government, civil society and the private sector. We recently won the 2019 Human Rights Award instituted by the National Human Rights Commission and are honoured and delighted to have such distinguished guests with a broad range of knowledge, experiences and technical expertise attending this event today.
This Dialogue is a follow-up from to the two-day stakeholders’ discussion on the Police Trust Fund Act 2019 held on the 4th and 5th of September 2019 here in Abuja with the main objective of improving funding for the Nigeria Police Force (NPF). The Act seeks to establish a Police Trust Fund that will provide funds for the purchase of equipment and machinery, construct police stations and provide living facilities including quarters or barracks for police officials, improve the general welfare of the personnel of the NPF, cater for training and retraining of police officers for intelligence gathering and other security activities and enhance their preparedness to effectively discharge their constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and properties of the people of Nigeria.
This Dialogue is geared towards achieving the following objectives:
- Engagement of key stakeholders to seek and ensure the establishment of the Trust Fund Committee in line with the provision of the Act.
- Promotion of accountability around the functions of the Trust Fund and its management board.
- Sensitisation of citizens on the activities of the Trust Fund in a bid to promote external accountability of the Fund.
It is important to note that since the signing into law of the Act by President Muhammadu Buhari in June 2019, the body to implement the provisions of the Act is yet to be put in place by the government. From our interactions with officials of the Nigeria Police Force, they are currently working on developing a strategy for implementation of the law.
The Police Trust Fund Act 2019 also provides for the establishment of a Board to administer the fund, to make investment decisions, to control and provide the legal framework for the management and control of special interventions. The affairs of the Fund will be in the custody of the Ministry of Police Affairs and chaired by the Minister as well as other members.
There is an urgent need to harmonise and seek the establishment of the implementing body for the Act as inadequate funding has been a recurrent issue within the NPF which is affecting her service delivery to the general public. It is important to note that there is no organisation that can achieve its objectives without the provision of adequate funds to meet its obligations.
The National Security Strategy 2019 recognises the pivotal role of the Nigeria Police Force in the maintenance of law and order and internal security operations. In addition, the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) and the Police Act expressly provide for the powers and duties of the police. However, lack of effective funding has seriously hampered the effective functioning of the Nigeria Police Force.
A cursory look at the various reports on the reform of the Nigeria Police Force, including the 2012 CSO Panel report supported by CLEEN Foundation reveal that Police low performance has been hinged on lack or inadequacy of funds for training of personnel, and the provision of the required logistics for virtually all aspects of policing functions which include investigations, purchase of arms and ammunition, office and residential accommodation, communication, as well as transportation among others. The implication of inadequate funding for policing duties has been the lowering of standards or nonperformance of their expected roles which primarily is about the efficient and effective provision of security for lives and properties of the general public.
Drawing from the above, CLEEN Foundation is of the opinion that avoiding wasteful and corrupt practices in the implementation of the Police Trust Fund would require an institutionalized culture of transparency and accountability in the processes from the beginning. Such processes should adhere to government-wide financial management and oversight practices, within a rigorously-observed security policy and planning framework. This includes adherence to Public Expenditure Management (PEM) principles of comprehensiveness, discipline, legitimacy, flexibility, predictability, honesty, information, transparency and a democratized process. Thus, this stakeholders’ dialogue brings together government agencies, the Nigeria Police Force, media and civil society to foster exchanges of ideas on the imperatives of accountability framework and resourcefulness towards the effective implementation of the Police Trust Fund in Nigeria.
In view of the above, this Dialogue envisions the development of strategies & mechanisms for the Board of the Police Trust Fund to deliver on their mandate of effective management of the Trust Fund.
On this note, I wish to extend our appreciation to the Nigeria Policing Program (NPP) for the partnership and support on this project. Special appreciation also goes to all the representatives of relevant Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies present here, the media, civil society organizations and the technical experts who will provide important contributions to the discussions in the course of this event.
Thank you all for coming to the occasion and I wish you successful and fruitful deliberations.
May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Benson Olugbuo, PhD.