By Salim Umar Ibrahim
On 24 June 2019, the Nigerian President signed the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Bill (“Police Trust Fund Act” or “the Act”) into law. The Act establishes the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Trust Fund) to provide funds for, inter alia, the training and welfare of personnel of the Nigeria Police Force. The Act also states that the Trust Fund would consist of funds from a levy of 0.005% of the net profit of companies operating a business in Nigeria amongst other sources.
The Police Trust Fund is expected to be a special intervention fund to finance necessary expenditures of the Nigerian Police Force. Former Inspector General of Police, IGP Suleiman Abba was appointed the Board Chairman of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund, NPTF. An appointment well deserving of a super cop who, once transformed the Police force for the better, someone who’s hand plays an important role in giving hope and proving to millions of Nigerians Nigerians that the Police can and will always be instrumental to a brighter and prosperous Nigeria.
According to the Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Dingyadi, on a fateful Monday, while inaugurating the board said, the board has powers to award contracts, invest money accruing to the fund and approve the utilisation of the returns on investment, in conformity with due process.
He said, “In the discharge of its duty under the Act, the board of trustees shall, through the ministry, identify the funding needs of various police institutions for the enhancement of performance.
“The trustees shall enter into contractual arrangements for the purpose of executing approved projects and also oversee the implementation of projects financed through money accruing to the fund,” he added.
Dingyadi said that the board also had the responsibility to set out policies and programme for the training and retraining of police personnel and its auxiliary staff in Nigeria and abroad.
He further stated that the board was equally empowered to approve disbursement of money from the fund to finance projects or activities of the police force and its institutions.
Why the highlight is to review what is expected and how the operations of the Trust Fund should be.
It is discerning to see the realm of affairs of credible individuals being dragged to the mud for whatever reason, but unfortunately, this has become a common practice from people one least expect from – and mostly from those who are sipping from the shores of your establishment and sharing your privileges.
A week ago, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC begun investigation into allege procurement of sub standard equipments by the Nigeria Police Trust Fund, NPTF, for the Police.
The equipment procured which included 120 Buffalo Vans with 80 more expected; 190 Ballistic Helmets and 640 pieces of Bulletproof Vests.
According to the Executive Secretary, NPTF, Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, as reported by Vanguard Newspaper the equipments were procured by the Fund under the 2020 intervention during an inspection of the equipments at the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
However, the paper reveal that some of the equipment procured did not meet the standard specification.
The bullet proofs only have bullet resistant shields at the front only and that a standard bullet proof ought to have bullet resistant shields in front and back to protect the user from or against any fragmentation or rifle ammunition during exchange of bullet with men if the underworld, Kidnapers, Bandits or Terrorists.
It was also discovered that most of the Helmets were very small and could not fit the heads of some of the personnel who attempted to try them on.
These are equipment meant for our home security agencies a Trust Fund is trying to provide for the benefit of all citizens and someone is trying to destabilize the process.
Here, the ICPC was invited to investigate why some of the equipment did not meet the required specification which led to subsequent invitation of some of the NPTF members for questioning following which the NPTF office was sealed.
Could be recalled mid September last year, in a working visit to Ijeh Barracks, Obalende, MOPOL 20 Barracks and the Police College, Ikeja, The NPTF Boss, Suleiman Abba, greeted by the sorry state of the Barracks mulls plan to demolish all dilapidated structures in Police Barracks across the country to avoid imminent collapse.
The central issue was, Abba was quick to warn contractors nursing the intention of absconding with funds meant for implementing the projects to desist from such, threatening that NPTF under his watch would ensure they were arrested and brought to book.
He said: “This time around, the government will deal with any defaulting contractor and send him to the appropriate place.
“That is after we must have recovered our money. The warning is necessary as it is common knowledge for contractors to abandon projects after being mobilised with funds.”
He revealed that more attention would be given to training and retraining of police personnel, which he said was one of the three main objectives of the Trust Fund.
Why, because, a professional cop with vast legal experience like Abba would have known how contracts and contractors dine and couldn’t hesitate to pass on a first warning in effort probably to scare unpatriotic contractors.
Reminiscing instances where the NPTF Boss has demonstrated high level of professionalism, doggedness and astute credibility, one would surely come to conclude that certainly, the tendencies of having some bad elements trying to rub their dirty hands up the clean plate is not surprising and perhaps the truth is only a step away.
Licking one’s clean plate with a dirty tongue will surely attract dire consequences.