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Peter B

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Disquiet in Presidency over Police Minister’s Comments
« on: March 09, 2010, 06:39:42 PM »
The open rebuke of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) by its supervising minister, Dr. Ibrahim Lame, is raising eyebrows in the Presidency.
The statement is part of the “political comments” by ministers, barred by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan.
Police Affairs Minister Lame had last Thursday lashed out at the police, accusing them of lack of commitment in respect of the worrisome security situation in the country.

The minister had also said he could not see reasons for the rising spate of armed robberies and other crimes in the country, despite government’s efforts to ensure that an average policeman goes home at the end of the month with over 200 per cent increment in salary and the provision of necessary logistics.
THISDAY learnt that top government functionaries were taken aback by the minister’s statement.
Officials at the Presidency reportedly said the issues which the minister raised could have been brought up at the Security Council meeting, rather than at a press conference which, according to them, helped spread the impression to the outside world that the country is unsafe.

Lame had ended up indicting the office of the National Security Adviser, a source said, adding: “The police force may be in the first line as far as security is concerned but it is not the only security apparatus. We have, in addition, the State Security Service, Nigeria Intelligence Agency and even the military, all coordinated by the National Security Adviser, General Sarki Muktar (rtd).”
Sources at the Presidency also claimed that the Police Affairs minister knows the serious challenges, like funding, facing the new police leadership.

A member of the police management who spoke on the issue but was not authorised to release information on the details made public by Lame, stated that since his appointment as the Inspector-General of Police (IG) last July, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo has not received any capital vote.
“The delay in budget releases has prevented the police from acquiring equipment like telephone tracking devices necessary for fighting kidnappings,” he said.

“An Anti-Terrorist Squad has been set up and our men trained in Israel,” disclosed the source, “but their effectiveness and efficiency are limited by the absence of basic facilities.”
At the controversial ministerial press briefing last Thursday, Onovo named a hostile environment, poor funding, mass poverty, ostentation by the elite in Nigeria and several conflicts in the West African sub-region which make firearms such as sophisticated military rifles easily available as some of the factors militating against the police’s fight against crime in Nigeria.