The CSO-PTF Support and Oversight Group has expressed dismay over the Commissioning by President Buhari of alleged substandard police equipments that were alleged to be fraudulently purchased by the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (NPTF) Management.
In a joint statement by the group, they indicated that fighting corruption is one of President Buhari’s signature commitments and the mantra on which he campaigned to be elected President.
However, they said they were at a loss as to why president Buhari will commission the equipment despite the widely reported scandal associated with the procurement
“It is unbecoming of the President that despite the alleged scandal associated with this procurement which allegedly breached due process and despite the ongoing investigation by the ICPC over the petition alleging fraud and corruption, the President went ahead to commission those equipment.
“Our concern arises from the fact, not only that the said equipment were fraudulently purchased in utter violation of the PTF Act, but also that the equipment are currently subjects of ongoing investigation by the Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC)”
The investigation they said is based on a petition alleging abuse of due process, corruption and mismanagement of funds by the PTF Management.
“Several news media reported this scandal. According to the Vanguard Newspapers report of September 20, 2021 captioned “N11bn police equipment contract fraud: How infighting within NPTF management led to ICPC’s petition, investigation” over N11 billion substandard equipment were fraudulently purchased for the Nigeria Police by the management of the PTF.
“The report further revealed that ‘sharing formula of proceeds from the fraudulent purchase of substandard equipment led to the petition’.
“The Chairman of the PTF Board of Trustees former IGP Abba Suleiman was reported to have testified before ICPC investigators as a witness, during which he made startling revelations of fraud, abuse of due process and mismanagement of the PTF funds by the management.
According to the statement, the Management staff of the NPTF have also been invited by ICPC over the matter.
“It was further alleged that a former Deputy Governor who is a serving Senator eyeing 2023, and a Minister were fingered in the substandard equipment purchase.
“It was, for instance, alleged that the bullet proof vests that ought to possess double sided shields were found to only possess shield on one side.
“It was further alleged that the helmets were too small and the Toyota Buffalo vehicles procured were largely substandard.”
The statement indicated that the chairman of the board was quoted to have denied knowledge of the procurement process and that the management of the NPTF has been frustrating him from resuming work with his staff at the office provided by the Nigeria Police Force.
The statement asked rhetorically, “Is it that the President is unaware of these facts depsite being widely reported in the media or is it that someone or a group of people are misleading the President?
“We, the undersigned members of the CSO-PTF Support and Oversight Group have received with serious concern the news of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commissioning on the 13th of January 2022 of 200 Buffalo Toyota operational vehicles and other equipment purchased by the Police Trust Fund for the Nigeria Police Force through alleged contract fraud.
“We note that President Buhari was represented at the commissioning by the Minister of Police Affairs who was quoted to have described the provision of the equipment as part of the ongoing reformation of the Nigeria Police Force. “How can the commissioning of equipment that are alleged to be substandard and capable of exposing police personnel to grave danger if faced with criminals be part of any reformation?
“The Minister, speaking for President Buhari also commended the Board of Trustees, Management and Staff of the NPTF “for meticulously and meritoriously completing the project.”
“We dare to ask: what can be meticulous and meritorious about an alleged fraudulent act that breaches the laws of the country?
The group also quoted the IGP, Usman Baba in his remark during the commissioning to have said that ‘the items provided for the force are largely in line with requisite operational specification, tested and found to be standard that would enhance effective and efficient policing’.
“Again, we dare to ask: on what did the IGP base this assessment? We are not aware that the ICPC has concluded or made public the outcome of its investigation into allegations that the equipment were substandard and unsuitable, in fact dangerous, for use by the police.
“Again the IGP’s remark is preemptive of and prejudicial to the ongoing ICPC investigation.
“Was the IGP under pressure or in cahoots with those accused of mismanagement of police trust fund?
The group therefore called on the ICPC to expedite action, conclude its investigation into the serious allegations of fraud and mismanagement of PTF funds and make its findings public.
“All those found to be involved in the allegations should be brought to account.
They said, ICPC owes Nigerians the legal, moral and sacred duty of ensuring that nobody or group of individuals or groups, no matter how powerful, should be allowed to interfere with or derail the investigation
“We in the CSO Observatory will continue to monitor and regularly update Nigerians on the progress of this investigation and generally on the operations of the PTF.”
This they said they would do to ensure transparency and accountability in the management of the PTF and to ensure that the purpose of establishing the fund- which is to fill the funding gap for the Nigeria Police with a view to enhancing their operational capabilities to effectively discharge their functions of securing and protecting Nigerians from crimes and insecurity is achieved.
The group which is a Civil Society Organisations Observatory on the Implementation of the Police Act 2020 and the Police Trust Fund Act 2019 is a coalition of over 200 civil society organisations and activists spread across Nigeria and committed to promoting transparency and accountability in the implementation of the NPTF Act.
The group is established to act as a catalyst to spur the Police Trust Fund to deliver on its mandate and to carry out vigorous and sustained sensitisation to create public awareness across the geo-political zones on the existence of Police Trust Fund and its mandate.
The 33 CSOs who jointly signed the statement include:
- Rule of Law And Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), Lagos
- International Peace And Civic Responsibility Centre (IPCRC), Anambra State
3.Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution. Lokoja, Kogi State
- Centre For Human Rights And Ethics in Development (CHRED), Oyo State
- Initiative For Gender Equality And Advancement, IGEA/ Edo Civil Society Organization, Edo State
- Community Outreach For Development And Welfare Advocacy (CODWA), Kwara State
7.Human Rights Social Development And Environmental Foundation (HURSDEF), Rivers State
- COMPPART Foundation For Justice And Peace Building
- Habitatcare And Protection Initiative
- Centre For The Advocacy of Justice, And Rights (CAJR), Plateau state
- Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Lagos State
- Foundation For Environmental Rights Advocacy And Development (FENRAD) Nigeria, Abia State
- Young innovators And Vocational Training Initiative (YIVTI), Kaduna State
14.International Solidarity For Peace And Human Rights Initative, Enugu State
- Vivacious Development Initiative, Abia State
- Vision Spring Initiatives, Lagos
- Anthony Opara, a private citizen
- Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN), Enugu
- Elixir Trust Foundation, Benue State
- Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), Rivers State
- Social and Integral Development Center (SIDEC),
- African Centre for Entrepreneurship and Information Development (ACEIDEV), Abuja
- Centre for Mmadu on Human Rights, Enugu
- Grassroots Development Monitoring and Advocacy Centre (GDMAC), Ilorin Kwara State
- Women Environment and Youth Development Initiative (WOYODEV),
- Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women, Kaduna State
- Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), Lagos
- Nnabuihe Azinkpali, Activist, Abuja
- Initiative for Safety Security and Educational Development (IPSSED NETWORK), Enugu State
- Centre for Transparency Advocacy, Abuja
- Koyenum Immalah Foundation, Benin
- ONYIGBUO, Stephen Uche, Private, Enugu.
- Social Intervention Advocacy Foundation (SIAF), Lagos