Posted by News Express | 8 May 2020 | 337 times
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned what it called the lopsidedness in the construction of the Board of the Nigerian Trust Fund.
The rights group said it was shocked that in constituting its board, the states were deliberately sidelined.
HURIWA in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday noted that its position is informed by the fact that contrary to widely held views, “the Police Force is actually a common agency of all tiers of government, particularly the States and the Federal Government.”
It further stressed: “We, as one of the most committed and patriotic civil rights organisations that championed the passage of the law that culminated in the emergence of the Fund, support the concept of a dedicated and transparent funding mechanism for the Nigerian Police Force as represented by the Trust Fund.
“We are however astonished and shocked beyond comprehension that in constituting this Trust Fund, there is no attempt to involve the states of the federation.
“The fact remains that the states, as the federating units, have significantly shouldered the tasks of substantially funding and equipping the respective branches of the national policing institution in these subnational levels.
“There is little doubts that the state governments have remained a strategic funding partner and backbone of the national policing institution for decades. The constitutional division of powers between the States and the Federal Government demarcates and assigns functions and responsibilities to all the tiers of government.
“The States and the Federal Government have powers to make laws and enforce them. The Police Force is the only coercive authority available to all the governments to enforce their laws.”
HURIWA said having reviewed the recent appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari in constituting the Board of Trustees of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund pursuant to its Establishment Act of 2019, it believes that appropriate and stable funding of the Nigerian Police Force is of vital importance to the security, wellbeing of Nigerians and a critical step in securing our democracy, civil rule and constitutionalism.
“It is a universal truism that the policing institution of any nation will determine to a substantial extent the collective wellbeing of that sovereign entity and it is the efficiency, effectiveness and result oriented characters of such policing institution that defines the nature of the rule of law of such a nation state.
“In effect a strategically disciplined and professional competent policing institution which require 21st century compliant tools and personnel that can qualify a nation state as functional and fit for purpose,” HURIWA noted.
The rights group stated that even if the Act establishing the Trust Fund has no provision for state representation, creative ways should be devised to ensure that the states are properly represented, or in the alternative amend the Act to achieve same.
“In any case, it said, the states of the federation have been bearing a disproportionate share of the funding and equipping of the Nigerian Police as the police contingents in the various states are not provided with basic funding to operate and deliver on their mandate by the Federal Government.”
HURIWA also condemned the non-observance of Federal Character in the constitution of the Board of the Trust Fund, adding: “It appears a bit insensitive and lopsided to appoint Retired Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba, from Jigawa State (North West) as the Chairman, and also Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, from Sokoto State from the same North West as Executive Secretary of the Fund.
“To make matters worse, the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, is also from Sokoto State, same North West.
“No doubt these are highly qualified individuals, but the present administration has been severally accused of breaching the Federal Character principle enshrined in the Constitution (Section 14(3) ).
“The Constitution imposes a duty on Mr President to ensure that in composition of an agency of this nature, 'there shall be no preponderance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups'. So, except we have fifth columnists who don’t wish Mr President well, these kind of discriminatory appointments should be filtered by his aides and brought to his attention before publication. We believe his staff have not served him well in this instance.”
It therefore urged the President to immediately recall the recent approval given for the constitution of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund.
It threatened to mobilise the Nigerian organised civil rights community to institute a suit at the competent court of law if after 78 hours the President fails to do the needful.
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