Senate Committee Chairman on Police Affairs, Senator Chief Igwe Polinus Nwagu, representing Ebonyi Central Senatorial District, spoke to VON on security and police in the country. He spoke on many security issues as regards the police, the masses and the nation, under his leadership of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs. Below are some of the excerpts from the interview:
Let me tell you that police are the largest of security organization we have in this country. Let me also tell you that the issue of security that is funding and funding of security agencies should not be left along for the government. There must be a partnership with private organization to make sure that security organization of every nation is well funded. Apart from funding, I have not seen anything the police need that we have not been able to do and we been doing them very well. Police funding trust find bill. I am sure the bill will sail through by the end of this year.
The challenge in Rivers State
What happened in Rivers State is mistrust. Before Mbu was posted in Rivers State there had been problem in the state. It was just political miscalculation. If the government and the commissioner of police have understood the constitution, there would not have been the issue of misunderstanding of each other.
Police education and training
Before the introduction of police in Nigeria by Britain, we were not all that literate but that does not mean that most of our current police are not literate. Very soon the police will start recruitment, if you do not have up to NCE or HND; you may not be taken as inspector cadet. If you have not 2:2 or 2:1 you can’t be taken as ASP cadet; 3rd class holders were U rejected. It took my interaction to consider a few of them. When I asked the commission they said, they want to have a standard. This is because if one is not educated, he can’t understand the people.
Apart from foreign training our internal training is far better than foreign training. Some people from other parts of the world came to train in Nigeria. If we have the equipment to a reasonable extent people from other country will come to train here more than they have been doing. As far as I am concern there is no place better than Nigeria for training of police.
Scrapping of the Ministry
Thank you very much; people have been clamoring for the Ministry Of Police Affairs to be scrapped. The ministry is an appendage of the presidency. If the president does not want it, he will scrap it and the police will still function. Police service commission is very important because their works are vital; Recruitment, Promotion, Discipline. They can also formulate policies that can enhance the performance of Nigeria police.
State Police: Those clamoring for state police have forgotten that even if it is created, there must be a law to bring it to the center. To me as a person, there is need. If state police is created there must be a law guiding it. We have not reached state where we can have state police and use it judicially. If police state is created, the ruling party will use to oppress the opposition.
Police is very much ready for 2015 election. I can assure you that there will be adequate security from the masses to conduct themselves so there will be no problem. If we conduct ourselves in the manner that election is not by force, then the police will not have course to hunt anybody.
Special Training to counter Boko Haram
Whether Boko Haram or no Boko Haram training is very important to the members of the forces; if they are not trained, they will not be able to contain street pick pocket not to talk of Boko Haram. Police does not need sophisticated weapon training to combat them but intelligence training.
My challenges are just insecurity as far as this country is concerned. If the country is safe I won’t have to move from north to south to investigate security issues. I was in Rivers state for some investigation. I was in Borno, and Nasarawa for some issues.
When I was appointed as Senate Committee Chairman for police, Ringin was in charge and so many things were going on. I sat him down and told him what to do. If he had any problem, he should tell us so that we would make laws to legalize them. Unfortunately he could not do such. MD Abubakar came, thank God he has listening ears. We discussed how police will be better. Our achievements are the issues of killings by Nigeria police who were at check points killing drivers because of bribery which has reduced. When Abubakar came we discussed with him and it stopped. We have been able to bring down corruption in the police.
The issue of kidnapping is gradually reducing, last year in Onitsha people went home because police was there to fight criminals. If you look at police dressing on the road, they are now well dressed, manner of approach has changed, except in some rural areas. Police now respect the people of this country especially in Abuja.
Promotion and welfare
Police officers now know when they are to be promoted and when not. We have established Police University which took off last year, just like the NDA. It runs all courses. Nigeria police is not the one of yesterday when people did not want to join the police. Nobody will be dismissed indiscriminately. When a police is dismissed indiscriminately we ask for his reinstatement.
As I am talking with you police is seeing me and you because they are monitoring what goes at major places in Nigeria. It is a new innovation in Nigeria.
Message to Nigeria public is that we in the police who are their supervisors have been able to bring new innovation to the police that have made it possible for police to be acceptable both at home and abroad. People should trust police now that they have been trained and more friendly.
If they have any issue with police, they should write my office and we must invite the people and know if the police are not doing the right or the members of the public.