Sunday, March 26, 2023

Nigerian govt dragged to court over Buhari’s plan to ‘monetise’ policing

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A Non-Governmental Organization in Nigeria, Center for Human Rights and Social Advancement, CEFSAN, has dragged the federal government to Federal High Court, Abuja over its plan to monetise policing in the country through Police Automated Services Unit Project, POSSAP.

Court documents obtained by DAILY NIGERIAN reveal that when POSSAP takes effect, it will allow police special units like the Mobile Police, MOPOL; Counter Terrorism Unit, CTU, among other special units in the force, provide escort and guard services to rich VIPs and organizations for a fee, as against the standards of using officers and men from the Special Protection Unit, SPU, for such services.

“This will give room for the rich and powerful to enjoy more security while leaving the taxpayers at the mercy of bandits and criminals,” Adam Bashir, one of the lawyers who filed the suit on behalf of CEFSAN told DAILY NIGERIAN.

“The plan is now that the police will be a revenue generating agency in such a way that private individuals and corporate persons can log on to a website and apply for police service or escort for a fee. Each category that the police personnel renders now have its own attached fee to it which would be paid for monthly.”

He argues that the development will only further expose the weakness of the police force looking at the security situation in the country, especially as the Mobile Police is the only strike force unit in the police.

In July 2021, an executive order from the Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, approved a Public Private Partnership, PPP, for the introduction of a Specialised Police Service Scheme for the Nigeria Police Force.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had disclosed that the move was to enable the police improve revenue and make operations more efficient.

The presidency revealed that the scheme which would be managed by a PPP would see the revenue generated from the scheme shared between the Federal Government, police and the consultant.

DAILY NIGERIAN learnt that apprehensions and reservations over the development is rife even among police circles.

In the suit, dated December 8, CEFSAN argues that the president and FEC do not not have power to authorize the creation of the Police Automated Services Unit as the power lies solely with the National Assembly to determine how and where they operate.

CEFSAN prayed the court to restrain the defendants from going ahead with the flag off of the project.

It argues that the police should be allowed to remain as currently constituted but fully financed, equipped and well trained to protect the nation and its citizens devoid of status in the society.

President Muhammadu was listed as first defendant in the suit, while the Ministry of Police Affairs and Nigerian Police Council were listed as second and third defendants respectively.

Other defendants include the Nigerian Police Force, Inspector General of Police, Police Service Commission, National Assembly; Federal Republic of Nigeria, Attorney General of the Federation and Park Way Projects Limited.

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