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Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Abu Ibrahim has advised the Inspector General of Police , Mr Ibrahim Idris to do everything within his power to provide decent and affordable shelter for personnel of the Force .
He counseled that the ongoing housing projects for policemen in different parts of the country should be adequately funded and completed stressing that the measure will boost the morale of policemen during active service and while in retirement and reduce corruption in the force.
The senator spoke in reaction to reports that the Post-Service Housing Scheme of the Nigeria Police was under threat of abandonement due to poor funding. One of the schemes situated in Lagos and executed under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, is said to have been grounded following the inability of the Police to meet its N6.6 billion counterpart funding obligation.
Idris last week commissioned the first phase of the project comprising 500 units of three-bedroom flats known as Police Estate in Lagos . The second phase, expected to deliver over a thousand bungalows, however, has been stalled.
Decrying the lack of decent houses for police personnel , the Senate Police Committee boss identified the inadequate accommodation for the force’s personnel across Nigeria as a major hindrance to effective policing. He said the situation could be improved by not only renovating barracks but by adequate funding of the ongoing housing schemes.
He claimed that one of the factors responsible for corruption in the public service, particularly the Police has been the absence of a mortgage system and the desperate quest by public servants to acquire wealth to build their own homes.
Ibrahim said “The welfare of police personnel should always be taken seriously. Part of the welfare is housing and accommodation. We can only get the police to do their work effectively when it is well funded and policemen have better welfare schemes that guarantees them decent homes after they leave the service.
“The incontrovertible conclusion therefore is that if we desire a Police Force that is efficient and capable of maintaining law and order as in other advanced countries, a sustainable fund arrangement must be put in place for the Nigeria Police Force”.
The Senator insisted that it was the need for proper funding of the police that the upper chamber of the National Assembly initiated a Bill for An Act to establish the Nigeria Police Development Fund.
He stressed that the bill which is pending in the Senate has housing as a major plank but was equally aimed at creating fund for training, retraining of personnel, provision of equipment, offices and barracks accommodation and related facilities to enhance service delivery by the Nigeria Police Force.
He expressed confidence that the enactment of the bill will encourage the police to put in their best in the service of the country.
On the commissioning of the Estate by the IG, Ibrahim hailed the unveiling and commissioning of the bungalows known as “Muhammadu Buhari estate Mawo, Lagos.
Mrs. Funke Adesoji, Managing Director Remax Realtors who handled the project was reported to have expressed her commitment to deliver the remaining housing units and craved the continued support of the Inspector General of Police to ensure that the housing units were delivered during his tenure as IGP.
Mrs. Adesoji was also reported to have listed some of the challenges the construction of Muhammadu Buhari estate suffered including being caught up at construction stage with massive foreign exchange devaluation which shot the project cost.