The senate committee on police affairs yesterday raised the alarm that the decrease in the budgetary allocations to the Nigerian police in the 2014 budget proposal may threaten the 2015 general elections.
The committee specifically said the development could affect the state of the preparedness of the police to carry out a smooth conduct of the polls.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Paulinus Nwagwu, who stated this during the budget defence by the Police Affairs ministry, also expressed fears that the policemen may resort to strike actions if their salaries were not paid.
Nwagwu observed for instance that allocation for personnel cost nose-dived from N292bn in 2013 to N279bn in 2014.
He also said the allocation for overhead cost for the police commands and formations equally took a downward turn from N7.6bn to N5.4bn in the current fiscal year.
The senator said, “As I am talking to you, this quarter, the police is unable to pay salaries, don’t forget that we are the people who oversee them and we meet with them from time to time.
“I don’t want a situation where police officers may go on strike.
Things that are not supposed to happen in this country is happening because of our enemies or perceived enemies of government.
“If last year when we did not have any major election, the police formation and command was given N7.6bn as overhead cost and if you look at the proposal of 2014 budget it is N1.2bn less than what was given to the police last year.
“Looking at the year we are, the election year when we expect the police performing in all the states of the federation in making sure they provide enough security for Nigerian to have a free movement, is there any assurances to Nigerians that you are ready to provide security to them for the elections?”
The supervising Minister of Police Affairs, Ms. Jumoke Akinjide, who led the management team of the ministry for the budget Defence told the lawmakers that already her ministry has led a delegation to the minister of finance to complain about the shortfalls in the ministry’s budgetary allocations particularly as regards the drop in personnel costs.
The minister also put the current strength of the Nigerian police force at about 370,000 men and women and told the lawmakers that her ministry was muting the idea of making additional recruitment into the force.
She assured that the police was ready for the 2015 elections, stressing that, “we are ready to deliver on a free, fair and credible elections because it is a cardinal policy of the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.”