…as creation of “SWAT” confirms our position that IGP is hastily bottling old wine in new bottle
Nigeria has been hit by a torrential wave of failed policing and ‘policing industrialization’ particularly as it concerns its internal security and policing-leading to loss in the hands of the Nigeria Police Force, the Military and the Paramilitaries, of over $13.8b or N3.9trillion; involving allocated and wasted public budgets of over $6.5B or N2trillion and $6.3B or N1.9trillion illicitly pocketed from the citizens at roadblocks, custodies and VIPs (very important persons) and VIIs (very important institutions). In the international calculation of the lost funds, N306 per $USD was used as average official exchange rate between 2015 and 2020.
The Nigeria Police Force has also been bedeviled by ‘policing industrialization’ or mercantilism and ‘terrorization’ involving hyper duplication of its various units or departments especially those in charge of street violent crimes, border crimes and transnational crimes involving: intelligence, investigation, arrest, detention and prosecution; and conversion of such units or departments into illicit money making ventures and torture or slaughter chambers or both. Totality of these has been the case in the Force in the past five years or since mid 2015; particularly in the past 52 months (since June 2015) as per the lost public funds or past 50 months (since August 2015) as per the illicitly collected roadway funds belonging to the country’s private citizens.
The above was the position of the Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law contained in a statement issued today in Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria and signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair, Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Head, Democracy & Good Governance, Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law and Amaka Damaris Onuoha, Esq., Head, Campaign & Publicity.
Also the announcement by IGP Adamu Abubakar of the hasty creation of “the Anti Weapons & Tactics Team” or “SWAT” as a replacement for “SARS”; barely 72 hours after the latter was “scrapped”, is a confirmation of our earlier position that IGP, by scrapping ‘SARS’ and renaming same, ‘is bottling old wine in new bottle. We have maintained and still maintain that ending or scrapping Police SARS and replacing same with new names or clothing tags-without total reformation of the entire NPF units or departments dealing with intelligence, investigation, arrest, detention and prosecution including their heads and field personnel; will intractably remain a wild goose chase and counterproductive.
N2trillion ($6.5b) Public Budgets Wasted On NPF In Five Years: Apart from failing woefully in manning the country’s internal security in the past five years, over $6.5B or N2trillion drawn mostly from borrowed public funds and a fraction from non-debt sources has been wasted on the NPF and its past and serving personnel in the past five years. From available official records, the Nigeria Police Force received from Federal Government a yearly average of N300b from 2015 to 2018. In 2019, the Force received N366b and in the outgoing 2020 fiscal year, a total of N403.4b was allocated; totaling not less than N2trillion or $6.5b. Already another whopping sum of N447.6billion has been earmarked for the Force in the coming federal budget of 2021; yet, the country is still bedeviled by failed and mercantile policing.
Apart from receiving the named huge federal budgets since 2015, the NPF has also been receiving since then monthly and annual supportive equipments and cash logistics including operational vehicles and cash donations amounting to billions of naira from Governors of the 36 States and other influential private citizens. The NPF’s annual budgetary allocations statutorily include personnel costs or remunerations of all its serving officers and retirees, overheads (i.e. money for fueling and maintenance of its operational vehicles and motorized others; procurement of office files and other writing materials, communication data renewals, maintenance of computers and other typing materials; and fueling and maintenance of generating sets, etc). In its proposed 2021 budget of N447.6billion, for instance, N166.7billion has been earmarked for procurement of arms and ammunition; N18.45 billion for overhead expenses, N417.2 billion for personal expenses and N11.98 billion for capital expenses. $6.3billion (N1.9trillion) Illicitly Pocketed From Roadblocks, Custodies & VIPs/VIIs In Five Years
The failed and mercantile policing in Nigeria have also directly taken a heavy toll on the country’s individual and corporate citizens in the past five years with total loss in the hands of the Force and other security forces; manning roadblock, border, custodial and VIPs/VIIs, of not less than N1.9trillion or $6.3billion. From available field data or statistics, the Nigeria Police Force through its roadblock, border and custodial personnel and their heads; and over 50,000-80,000 others deployed to protect VIPs and VIIs have illicitly collected from Nigerians a whopping sum of N1.37trillion or about $4.5b in five years.
The illicitly collected sums involve: N600b illicitly collected since 2015 from protection of VIPs and VIIs on monthly average of N10b and annual average of N120b (Senator Misau: August 2017); N341b illicitly collected at South-South and Southeast roadblocks from August 2015-March 2020 and July-Oct 2020 and N180b illicitly collected from Southwest, Northwest, North-central and Northeast roadblocks; N34b illicitly collected from April-June 2020 during the country-wide COVID-19 interstate lockdowns and N250b projected to have been illicitly collected in five years from custodial bail fees in all the custodial police formations; bringing the total to N1.371trillion or about $4.5b.
The highlighted NPF’s part of the illicitly collected public monies did not include election security briberies and ‘logistics’ running into billions of naira per election season and senior service personnel’s posting racketeering, pegged between N10million and N15million each for posting of State Police Commissioners or AIGs or Mobile Commanders to “lucrative” zones, such as Anambra, Abia, Rivers, Delta, Edo and Cross River States (Senator Misau: August 2017).
Paramilitaries Illicitly Pocketed N400b In Five Years: Another “lucrative” source of milking Nigerian citizens dry comes from the country’s paramilitaries especially Customs and Immigration Services’ roadway and border way and traveling documents’ processing extortion where it is projected that not less than N400b must have been illicitly collected from the citizens in the past five years. The illicit sums did not include briberies or racketeering associated with clearing of licit and illicit goods at non-roadway sections or warehouses of the country’s air and sea ports.
Nigerian Military Pocketed N130b At Gunpoint In Five Years: The Nigerian Military (Army, Navy and Air Force), using as a case-study the existing research data developed by Intersociety in the Southeast and South-south, must have illicitly collected from Nigerian road users especially those manning “oil” and “haulage” routes in the past five years a total sum of not less than N130b. This includes N60b illicitly collected in the Southeast and South-south and N70b pocketed from the rest of the country including the COVID-19 interstate lockdown roadway and border way military extortion.
Totality of these, therefore, brings the total sums illicitly collected from Nigerians by the NPF led Nigerian security forces in the past five years and two months (50 months) or since August 2015 to N1.9trillion or $6.3billion.