Many policemen across the country have expressed anger at the refusal of the police authorities to provide them with uniform despite the budgetary allocation for them in the annual budget of the Nigeria Police Force.
The policemen of different ranks lamented that the Force that is saddled with the responsibility of taming corruption should not be engaging in questionable acts itself.
Our sources’ analysis of the police budget showed that in eight years the police had budgeted N9.88bn for uniform and other clothing. The sums budgeted are N2.01bn for 2010; N1.94bn for 2011; N1.36bn for 2013; N710.8m for 2015; N1.99bn for 2016; N752.5m for 2017; N573.22m for 2018; and N543.22m for 2019.
These figures were in tandem with the budgets on the website of the Budget Office of the Federation. The estimates for uniform and other clothing for 2012 and 2014 fiscal years were, however, not reflected. Also, the total allocation to police formations and commands in the years under review was N2.47tn.
Meanwhile, in the 2020 Appropriation Bill recently submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to the joint session of the National Assembly, the police already budgeted a fresh N571,921,344 for uniform and other clothing in the coming year.
But, despite the budgetary provisions, policemen, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to speak to the press, revealed that there was little or nothing to show for the police budget on a uniform and other accoutrements. They stressed that they had not been receiving uniform from the Force.
They pointed out that the only time they ever received uniforms in their careers was when they were training at the Police College. This, according to them, was responsible for the different colours and texture of the uniform in circulation.
They noted that the refusal of the force to provide the uniform and other accoutrements and their “poor salary” were the reasons why many policemen look tattered on duty as they could not use their “meagre salary” to do their work, especially when the provision was made for such. They also said it had made impersonation of the police easy.
Responding to enquiries, an Assistant Superintendent of Police with the Ekiti State Command explained that in his over 20 years in service, he had never received uniform from the force apart from when he was at the police college.
He said, “I have been buying my uniform since I left the Police College. We are aware that there is always a budget for uniform but we do not know what becomes of the money earmarked for it. In fact, if you ask any police, they will tell you they are aware, but people don’t get the uniform. So, where does the money go?”
“We all understand that the problem with Nigeria is corruption but things are not getting better because those at the upper echelon in the police are depriving us of our entitlements. We are not happy, but as officers, we cannot complain. If you complain, you will be dismissed. We have been gagged. So, for now, there is nothing we can do. Who are we to challenge anything they do?”
An Inspector, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, explained that apart from the uniform and a pair of shoes everyone was given, it had become the norm for policemen to buy their uniform.