OPENING REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA HIS EXCELLENCY DR. ABUBAKAR BUKOLA SARAKI ON THE OCCASION OF A ONE DAY PUBLIC HEARING BY THE SENATE JOINT COMMITTEE ON POLICE AFFAIRS AND JUDICIARY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND LEGAL MATTERS ON A BILL TITLED THE NIGERIAN POLICE DEVELOPMENT FUND (ESTABLISHMENT, ETC) BILL, 2017 (SB. 433) ON WEDNESDAY 20TH DECEMBER, 2017.
1. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this public hearing by the Senate Joint Committee on Police Affairs and Judiciary, Human Rights & Legal Matters on a Bill which creates a funding mechanism for the Nigerian Police Force that allows for a judicious utilization of funds – one that is transparent as well as accountable
2. As an institution, the National Assembly has emphasized tie and time again that the primary purpose of government is the security and welfare of the people. The security of the citizens remains a major priority for any country that wants to attract economic development and build her infrastructure.
3. It cannot be gainsaid that the Nigerian Police Force can play a critical role in safeguarding the country if they are better equipped and motivated than they currently are in order to play their role effectively. A very important component of motivating them better is by improving the welfare of police personnel so as to eliminate or reduce the temptation of unethical practices, such as extorting money from commuters at checkpoints, which compounds their inefficiency and gives them a bad image.
4. The major benefit of the Nigeria Police Development Fund (Establishment, Etc) Bill, if passed into law is that it would open up diverse funding opportunities for the Nigeria Police Force. By opening up funding windows from corporate bodies, aid, grants and assistance from international bilateral and multinational bodies, the Trust will expand funding for the Nigeria Police, thereby helping to curb the problem of underfunding.
5. It is common knowledge that the Nigerian Police Force remains one of the most underfunded in the world and one of the least funded agencies of government despite its onerous responsibility of securing the country and preventing crime. The Police Trust Fund bill seeks to provide for a professional police service that has the trust and confidence of the Nigerian populace because it delivers quality service under very conducive working environment.
6. I thank the sponsor of this Bill who incidentally is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Abu Ibrahim for driving this process, his passion towards this Bill and other members of this committee present here today. The legislative experience of the Senators present here is an assurance that we have a team of experienced lawmakers who we all can trust.
7. To the invited guests and stakeholders present here, I urge you to be free to speak whenever you are called upon. The Senate has not taken any position yet on this Bill. Your contributions will go a long way in enriching the content and passage of this Bill.
8. The general security of our nation is the collective responsibility of all of us. Therefore, we must do our best collectively to make the Police Force a thorough and professional institution which will be the envy of all other security agencies involved in the protection of Nigerians.
9. I hope that at the end of this session, we must have put forward a very good piece of legislation that will bridge the funding gaps and improve the working conditions of the Police Force.
10. Once again, I sincerely thank you all for coming, and now declare this public hearing open.
11. God Bless you all.
PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE