PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has approved an enhanced salary structure for the Police, it was learnt yesterday.
He assured that his administration will continue to give attention to the welfare and operational needs of the Police with a view to restoring its lost primacy in the internal security framework of the country.
The President spoke in Abuja during an audience with the leadership of the Police Service Commission (PSC), who were at the State House to show appreciation for the pay rise.
With the approval, the salaries, allowances and pensions of policemen will go up.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity Garba Shehu, the President regretted that the inability of the police in their constitutional role as the frontline force in the prevention of crime led to military involvement in the maintenance of law and order throughout the country.
Buhari was quoted as saying: “From Taraba to Sokoto, to the Southsouth, people don’t feel secured until they see the military. I am pleased to make the increase in salary and allowances in the hope that it will increase the performance index of the police and strengthen Nigeria’s internal security system.”
He observed that the more efficient the police are, the more confident the government and citizens will be.
“The military should be reserved for higher tasks. The police should be able to cope well with the challenges of armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom and such crimes. In every town and village, there is the presence of the police.
“From all these places, they should be able to forward first class intelligence to you on which to act.
“There is a need to amplify the question of more men of the police, especially given the condition we are in – emergency in the North-East, pervasive insecurity and abduction for ransom and banditry in many parts of the country.
“I congratulate you on the success you recorded against criminals taxing people and stopping them from their farms. We are expecting more from you,” the President told the police.
Full-time Commissioner in the commission, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi (rtd), who represented the chairman and a former IGP, Musiliu Smith, told the President that the Rank Salary Structure Adjustment would enhance police welfare and morale.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, promised that the police would redouble efforts to ensure free, fair and credible elections next year.
“We are ready; we have gone round the country; we have conducted several by-elections, which obviously prepared us to face the main challenge next year.”
The IGP, who was with the the PSC leadership, told State House reporters that the stage was set for the forthcoming elections.
He said: “We are ready; we have gone round the country; we have conducted several by-elections which obviously prepared us to face the main challenge next.
“I am assuring all Nigerians that we are going to do our best in ensuring that we have a free and credible election next year. Obviously, we have the equipment but if we can get more, we will appreciate it.”
On the welfare of officers and men, he said he was excited with the commitment and efforts aimed at improving not only the salary but the training of the Police Force.
According to him, he “expects more dedication and loyalty to government and people of Nigeria from the officers and men of the Nigeria Police.”
Justice Ogunbiyi said the welfare of Policemen needed to be enhanced because the idea of security had become critical.
Policemen, she said, should be encouraged as the populace will like to see them perform maximally.
Justice Ogunbiyi said: “We are here on behalf of the PSC to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari for seeing it fit to enhance the welfare of Nigeria Police.
“To enhance their emolument generally and to see that things are improved not only in terms of salaries and allowances but also seeing that infrastructure is improved; their working conditions, training …
“In our recent retreat; we were in Enugu and we saw that a lot of the training facilities are in deplorable condition.
“We will want to see that our policemen are properly trained; and our police will be able to match up with any police force anywhere in the world.
“This is one the reasons why we think we need to encourage the government to do that and the President is doing same in the right direction.”