…see N5bn spent on renovations as ‘waste’
The House of Representatives on Thursday asked the Federal Government to auction police barracks across the country.
The House noted that between 2019 and 2022 over N5 billion was spent by the Federal Government on renovation of police barracks in Nigeria, saying despite all efforts, the barracks continue to fail to meet basic habitation need in their current state, lacking maintenance, even as police personnel live in inhuman conditions.
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 Murphy Osaro Omoruyi.
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 President Muhammadu Buhari on September 16, 2020, with one of its core issues being to address the living conditions of police officers.
The lawmaker noted that the problem of adequate and dignified accommodation for police officers has persisted and so far, defied all previous measures.
He expressed worried that police officers and their families live in squalor quarters characterised by large cracks on the walls. He decried bat-infested houses, leaking roofs and dilapidated structures for barracks across the country.
Omoruyi lamented that police officers have been tagged as corrupt and this is not far-fetched from the lack of welfare services. He was disturbed that the public has lost confidence and respect for police officers due to their poor condition of service.
He argued that the deplorable living condition of police officers has dampened their morale and productivity, stressing that if this issue was 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 among 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 lawmaker suggested 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 which was presided over by Tajudeen Abbas, the speaker, in their resolutions unanimously adopted the motion through a voice vote.
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The house urged the ministries of interior, and police affairs to liaise with the Bureau of Public Enterprise to immediately assess the value of all federally-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 weeks for further legislative action.