Lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Thursday demanded that the Federal Government auction Police barracks across the country, because they have turn to ‘squalor quarters’
This is even as the House noted that between 2019 – 2022 over 5 billion naira was spent by the Federal Government on Police barracks renovations in Nigeria, saying despite all efforts, barracks continue to fail to meet basic needs in their current state of disrepair and lack of maintenance.
This is sequel to the adoption of a motion on the “Urgent Public Importance on the Need to Address the Deplorable Living Conditions of Officers of Nigeria Police Force” moved by Hon. Murphy Osaro Omoruyi on the floor of the House.
Presenting the motion, Omoruyi informed that in September 2020, the Nigerian National Assembly passed the Police Reform Bill 2020, which was signed into law by the former Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari on September 16, 2020 which one of its core issues was to address the living conditions of our nation’s gallant police officers.
The lawmaker noted that the problem of adequate and dignified accommodation for police officers persists and has so far outlived all previous measures.
He expressed worried that Police officers and their families live in squalor quarters characterized by large cracks on the wall, bat-infested houses, leaking roofs and dilapidated structures for barracks across the country.
Omoruyi lamented that the Police officers have been tagged as corrupt and this is not far-fetched from lack of welfare services for them and disturbed that, the public have lost confidence and respect in the gallant officers due to their poor condition of service.
He argued that the deplorable living condition of the Police officers has dampened their morale and productivity, stressing that if this issue is not urgently addressed, the welfare of officers will continue to deteriorate.
“Aware that there has been robust national debate and calls for more community-oriented policing strategies and having officers of the Nigeria Police Force living amongst the general population, rather than in their secluded barracks will significantly satisfy these calls and enhance public safety.
“Also aware that the barracks method of housing for police and local law enforcement officers is a relic colonial practice that has since been abandoned by the same colonialists in their home countries.
The lawmakers suggested that the abolishment of the barracks model and replacement with an enhanced “Housing Allowance” determined by rank, existing police salary structure and location will be highly beneficial to the officers’ welfare, morale, productivity as well as the good of the general public.
The House, presided over by the Speaker, Hon Tajudeen Abbas in their resolutions unanimously adopted the motion through a voice vote.
The House urged the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Police Affairs to liaise with the Bureau of Public Enterprise to immediately assess the value of all federal owned barracks across the country and announce a public offering for same.
It also resolved to set up an Ad-hoc Committee to produce a comprehensive addendum to the Police Reform Bill with input from all relevant stakeholders and to report back to the House within four (4) weeks period for further legislative action.
The House mandates the House Committee on Appropriation to ensure a redeployment of the funds meant for the maintenance of barracks across the country and provide annual budgetary allocation for the construction of befitting “Housing Allowance” for serving police officers as well mandate the Committee on Police Affairs to ensure compliance.