Allow Buhari Work Before Campaigning For 2nd Term – Sen Ibrahim - Uju Ayalogu's Blog for News, Reviews, Articles and More

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Sunday, 13 December 2015

Allow Buhari Work Before Campaigning For 2nd Term – Sen Ibrahim

Allow Buhari Work Before Campaigning For 2nd Term – Sen Ibrahim

Sen Abu Ibrahim

Sen Abu Ibrahim represents Katsina south in the upper legislative chamber. He is also the chairman Senate committee on police. In this interview with Ruth Choji, he spoke on the clamor for second term ticket for President Muhammad Buhari, the police and other national issues.

Recently, some northern senators have said that there is no vacancy in the presidency ahead of 2019. Does that mean President Buhari will seek another term or is that the position of Northern Senators?

Honestly I don’t know why someone who has just started less than six months tenure should now talk about re-election in 2019? When he has not started to implement what he has promised the people. The preoccupation of President Buhari is to fight corruption and he has left no one in doubt about what he intends to do before the end of his tenure. No matter how related to him and what position you occupy in Nigeria, if you are involved in any corrupt practices he will deal with you. And by the time he finishes in 2019, no Nigerian will even attempt to contest against him.

PDP leaders and critics of Buhari administration believe that the anti-corruption fight is only targeted at PDP members. What is your opinion on this?

Is Senate President a member of PDP, or is Col. Sambo Dasuki a card carrying member of PDP? When the EFCC arrested ex-NSA, there was a lot of noise from PDP members. But are Nigerians not shocked to now realize that the money meant to buy equipment for the troops fighting Boko Haram and their welfare was diverted to individuals at the corridors of power? Is there anything more criminal than that? Nigerians who stole the Nation’s financial resources and diverted for personal use when thousands were dying in North-East over Boko Haram senseless war should be ashamed of themselves and should be made torefund the looted funds before the law take its full course on them.

As chairman of police committee what are your expectations for a better Police organization?

I was a member of the committee for the past four years and for this reason I can say that I understand the problems of the police. First, the problem of police is funding: no money to equip the police, no money to train the police, no money to give them their normal welfare. Without money they cannot positively function for security to our lives and property. And when you look at the budget of police, unfortunately it is very low.

 As far as I know most of the police divisions are having big cars such as hilux. And jeeps, but there are no funds to maintain them. Some of the Divisional Police Officers are provided with only N10,000 per month for maintenance, which ordinarily, cannot be enough for one or two days. In most cases their allowances are not even paid to them so how will they cater for their families and be committed to their duties? We have to accept the fact that if police is necessary for effective security in any society, we must find a solution to it in order for us to enjoy peace society in the country.

What is the way out?

There are various approaches to solve the problem. For example, during Obasanjo administration (1999-2007) the government started Police Trust Fund, but I know that the money realized was badly mismanaged. Somebody was put in charge of the funds, who was believed to be related to the ex- president, and he was busy buying vehicles and misusing the money while nobody could control him until the fund was completely mismanaged. Now there is urgent need to revive that Trust Fund through either enough budget provision or special percentage of federation account to be dedicated to the police so as to have sufficient fund.

 We need to stop all these uncoordinated financial gifts from private groups and state/Local Governments that have proved to be insufficient in solving Police problems. Every day you will hear of donation of vehicles, offices etc, but nobody is talking about police welfare and maintenance, their equipment police training and accommodation of personnel. Sometime the vehicles donated are broken down within three to four months and to repair them becomes great problem because of lack of funds. In order to achieve our objective on this issue, a committee has been set up to collate all outstanding bills to be consolidated into one bill which will be presented in January, 2016 for legislative approval…

Is the welfare of police personnel included in the program you are reviewing?

Yes, it is very important and that is why I am telling you that the police needs a Trust Fund to take care of their training and welfare, something that can motivate them to be efficient, effective and patriotic.

Nigeria Police is said to be under staff going by the United Nation’s policy. How can this be resolved since the present strength is even under funded?

The UN policy on police strength in any nation is one police to 250 people. It is therefore grossly under populated but again it is as a result of underfunding, because without adequate funds the authority cannot increase the work force of police. I will rather prefer to have a proper funding with a competent small police than having to employ more people and have an uncompetentPolice Force.

Nigerians seem to have lost trust in the police in spite of what has been done by government to improve their image. What can be done to regain the trust in Nigerian police?

I think the most important thing on this issue is the training and retraining of Police Personnel to meet the needs of modern society. They should respect and cooperate with the public whom they are employed to protect and serve.

Is it healthy to continue to draft in the army even in civil matters instead of police to handle such crises?

No. it is not healthy and that is why this government is focusing on how to reposition the police force especially the mobile police force to perform its constitutional civic duties. The mobile police force is the right unit of the Police to intervene in such civil crises. Therefore if they are fully mobilized, equipped and motivated, there will be no need   to bring in the army   in such civil crises. For example before the insurgency in the North East went out of control where the military had to be drawn into the battle, the mobile force would have been the appropriate unit to take charge of the situation.

Some youths in the South-east have renewed the agitation for the state of Biafra? Should government grant them their request?

I am worried. This, in my opinion, is because Nigeria is experiencing the consequences of maladministration that has been going on in the country for the past one decade or so. Unfortunately this government has taken over at the time things have reached the peak of a bad situation. For example, the price of oil has gone down very low, unemployment is so high, pervasive corruption had gone to an intolerable level and insecurity has become very high, while infrastructural facilities have completely collapsed. Buhari’s administration took over when there was social tension in some part of the country. Consequently, what we are witnessing now is that is trying to fight corruption, corrupt people are fighting lack fiercely.

 Corrupt people are creating crises and trouble using their acquired corrupt funds to fight back the government that is bent on wiping out corruption. Although this is not in the public domains, but I know that government is mindful of what is going on. I am aware as a Senator that some level of meetings have taken place and the elders of the North have been urged to maintain calm and peace in the face of certain provocative events going on in the South-East so that our people do not react negatively. I am happy that our people have responded to the appeal and have remained peaceful. Now the Northern Elders are talking to the Southern Elders, while the governors are also reaching out to their colleagues so that the situation will not degenerate into crises. Is that the majority view of the people in south east? We are in a democracy, so we cannot allow the minority opinion to determine what the majority people want. Those who represent the so-called Biafra are they elected legislators in the state Houses of Assembly or House of Representatives or the Senate or governors.

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