The Alliance for Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) led by human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, has stated that the federal government has enough resources kept in the newly established Police Trust Fund, (PTF) to equip police personnel for optimum performance.
ASCAB, in the statement signed by its Chairman, Falana, tasked the federal government to ensure judicious use of funds meant for the operatives under the newly established Police Trust Fund.
The group said the newly opened fund is repository to billions of naira, which should be disbursed to equip the police with critical infrastructures like crowd control equipment and personnel gadgets.
The rights coalition recalled that the newly passed Police Act empowers the government to pay 0.5 per cent of total revenue generated in the country to the newly opened PTF account, which also includes payment of 0.005 per cent of net profit by all companies operating in Nigeria.
The group said the Nigerian Police Force does not have enough Water Canon beyond a few ones in Abuja.
It said the equipment costs between N18million to N50million, which every state of the Federation can afford.
ASCAB said instead of kitting police personnel and buying Water Canons, authorities have been buying Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) that are hardly used but stationed at State Houses as empty psychological threats.
ASCAB argued that for effective performance, every police rating and the officer needs life-saving equipment like a handcuff, radios, baton, hand-held protection devices such as pepper spray, window punch, gloves, flashlights, ammunition, taser, flashlights, batteries, first medical aid material pens, pencils, keys, and multi-tool.
ASCAB said the equipment are sometimes more effective and prevents the operatives’ temptation of using life ammunition at the slightest provocation on the civilian population.
The group said the fund should insure every policeman and woman against death and bodily injury, saying that its struggle for a better Nigeria takes into consideration the travails of police officers who are also victims of a system shortchange them.
“ASCAB urges the Nigeria Police Force to judiciously use the funds available to maintain public order in the most legal, legitimate ways that employ life-saving measures. This involves deploying water cannon instead of guns in crowd control.”
“It also involves personnel kitting with gadgets that will prevent police officers from savage attacks from criminals.”
ASCAB recalled that in the Second Republic the police procured Water Cannon mounted on trucks to deal effectively with the challenge of internal security throughout the country.
“In particular, the Nigeria Police Force acquired crowd control equipment to disperse tumultuous crowd and reduce the killing of people and destruction of properties during riots. But upon the overthrow of the Shehu Shagari administration on December 31, 1983, the ruling military junta confiscated the equipment, which had been acquired by the Nigeria Police Force. Since then, successive military and civilian regimes have refused to equip and fund the Nigeria Police Force.”
ASCAB recalled that in order to ensure adequate funding for the Police the National Assembly passed the Police Trust Fund Bill into law last year adding that shortly thereafter, the Police Trust Fund Bill was signed into law by President Mohammadu Buhari.