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CSO-PTF Support Group queries commissioning of substandard police equipment

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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:

  1. Rule of Law And Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), Lagos
  2. International Peace And Civic Responsibility Centre (IPCRC), Anambra State

3.Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution. Lokoja, Kogi State

  1. Centre For Human Rights And Ethics in Development (CHRED), Oyo State
  2. Initiative For Gender Equality And Advancement, IGEA/ Edo Civil Society Organization, Edo State
  3. Community Outreach For Development And Welfare Advocacy (CODWA), Kwara State

7.Human Rights Social Development And Environmental Foundation (HURSDEF), Rivers State

  1. COMPPART Foundation For Justice And Peace Building
  2. Habitatcare And Protection Initiative
  3. Centre For The Advocacy of Justice, And Rights (CAJR), Plateau state
  4. Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Lagos State
  5. Foundation For Environmental Rights Advocacy And Development (FENRAD) Nigeria, Abia State
  6. Young innovators And Vocational Training Initiative (YIVTI), Kaduna State

14.International Solidarity For Peace And Human Rights Initative, Enugu State

  1. Vivacious Development Initiative, Abia State
  2. Vision Spring Initiatives, Lagos
  3. Anthony Opara, a private citizen
  4. Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN), Enugu
  5. Elixir Trust Foundation, Benue State
  6. Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), Rivers State
  7. Social and Integral Development Center (SIDEC),
    Anambra State
  8. African Centre for Entrepreneurship and Information Development (ACEIDEV), Abuja
  9. Centre for Mmadu on Human Rights, Enugu
  10. Grassroots Development Monitoring and Advocacy Centre (GDMAC), Ilorin Kwara State
  11. Women Environment and Youth Development Initiative (WOYODEV),
    Kwara State
  12. Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women, Kaduna State
  13. Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), Lagos
  14. Nnabuihe Azinkpali, Activist, Abuja
  15. Initiative for Safety Security and Educational Development (IPSSED NETWORK), Enugu State
  16. Centre for Transparency Advocacy, Abuja
  17. Koyenum Immalah Foundation, Benin
  18. ONYIGBUO, Stephen Uche, Private, Enugu.
  19. Social Intervention Advocacy Foundation (SIAF), Lagos
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Akpabio doles out N27m to 7 families of deceased Police officers

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The President of the Senate, Godswill Obot Akpabio has has dolled out N27m to families of seven police personnel killed at Ugheli forest in Delta State on 20th February, 2024.

Akpabio, while making the presentation of the posthumous awards on behalf of the Nigeria Police, announced that he would support each of the families with one million naira to pay their way back home while the Senate as an institution made a commitment to supoort the families of the deceased with N20 million.
Akpabio made the pledge at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Police Awards and Commendations Ceremony which held on Monday evening in Abuja.
In addition to the awards given on various aspects of policing, posthumous awards were also given in memorial recognition of the fallen heroes as Akpabio pledged the full cooperation and support of the National Assembly for better policing of Nigeria.

Akpabio told the audience which included Vice President Kashim Shettima that “as the leader of the National Assembly, I pledge our full cooperation and support for the better policing of Nigeria.

“We recognise the importance of a well-equipped and motivated police force in ensuring the security and well-being of our citizens.

“We will continue to work tirelessly to provide the necessary legislative framework and resources to enable the police to carry out their duties effectively.”

The Senate President commended the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun and the entire leadership of the Nigeria Police Force for organising the event and urged them to use the occasion to celebrate the achievements of the Nigeria Police Force and to reiterate the commitment to working together for a safer and more secured Nigeria.

Akpabio said: “I commend the Police for this maiden effort in organizing this awards ceremony. It is a testament to IGP Egbetokun’s commitment to giving honor to whom it is due.

“By recognizing the gallant, selfless and patriotic contributions of individual officers, we not only motivate them for higher performance but also reinforce the new policing agenda of the Force.

“This agenda focuses on internal ethical regeneration, restoration of professional standards and the enhancement of the anti-corruption drive.

“However, let us not ignore the challenges faced by the police in Nigeria. The ever-evolving landscape of crime and the increasing sophistication of criminal gangs pose significant obstacles.

“Moreso, as we honor the good officers, let us weed out the bad ones because a chain is as strong as its weakest link. It is crucial that we address these issues and work together to find solutions.

“The Police need the support and cooperation of all stakeholders to overcome these challenges and build a stronger and more effective Police Force.

“I congratulate the awardees who have excelled in their respective fields of policing. Their dedication, bravery and integrity have set them apart and made them deserving of this recognition.

“I commend each and every one of them for their outstanding performance and commitment to the service of our nation. I urge them to remember that to whom much is given, much is expected.

Representatives of the families of the deceased received the awards as well as cheques for their entitlements.
Kano State Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf also announced a donation of N20 million to support the families of the deceased.

The Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima commended the Senate President and Kano State Governor for their “show of empathy” to the affected families.

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HIV service delivery: SFH trains security agents on human rights, inclusion, diversity

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The Society for Family Health(SFH) has expressed its appreciation to law enforcement agencies in the country for their commitment to the partnership with the organization.

The Managing Director, Dr. Omokhudu Idogho gave the indication in a goodwill message at a 3-day training workshop organized by SFH for the law enforcement officers held at Chatwell Hotel on Monday in Bauchi.

The sensitization workshop focused on general health issues, gender diversity and human rights as they relates to the survival of the key populations.

The MD who was represented by Chief of Party, KP-CARE2 Project of the SFH, Mallam Abdulsamad Salihu said law enforcement agencies have shown serious commitment to their partnership with his organization.

He disclosed that the officers have been part and parcel of the organization’s activities over the years especially as it relates to public health programming, HIV and AIDS service implementation and extraordinary general security provisions.

He said, “It is with no doubt that our gallant law enforcement personnel have been through considerable tests of their resolve by the significant increase in criminal activities in the country, especially because of the challenges with poverty, inflation, banditry and insurgency

In his words, “We also know that over 200 million Nigerians rely on the law enforcement agencies for their security and livelihoods, many of which are also supported by SFH.”

In his address, the Bauchi State Commissioner of Police, CP Auwal Mohammed Musa disclosed that gender inequality is not a new concept but that their pervasiveness has brought them to international focus.

He pointed out that the police force as an institution is a major stakeholder in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women, guided by its mandate to maintaining peace and uphold fundamental rights to freedom.

The police boss further explained that every individual deserves safety and respect, but that the scourge of rape and defilement are curbed, and that women and girl child and boys can live their lives free from fear, intimidation and harassment.

He expressed the hope that the training program would facilitate a smooth police service delivery and improve the areas of gender sensitivity in the Force.

In his speech, the Zonal Commander of the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Zone B, Idris Mohammed Bello thanked the Society for Family Health for its commitment to confronting the HIV menace over the years and the benefits therein.

The NDLEA boss expressed the belief that participants will leave the training better equipped to stem the problem due to the increased knowledge they will acquire from the training.

Bello also explained that it was the second time he would be attending the Society for Family Health sensitization training for officers with his strong belief that the participants will live with the takeaway and even impact the knowledge on others.

Other agencies in attendance at the training included the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC), Hisbah Corps, representatives of the National Human Rights Commission(NHRC), heads of State AIDS Control Agencies(SACAs) and representations from KP-led Community-Based Organizations(CBOs) among others.

The training attracted officers from the North West and North East regions comprising Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano, Borno, Adamawa, Taraba and host Bauchi states.

About 40,000 vulnerable individuals received care from the project with support from the United States Agency for International (USAID) and the Nigerian government.

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DSS alerts Nigerians against potential threats at crowded gatherings

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To avoid “potential threats” that may result from Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs) in crowded places or suspicious locations, the Department of State Services (DSS), on Friday, cautioned Nigerians across the country to stay away.

The DSS in its message to both Christian and Muslim faithful to felicitate with them at their Lenten and upcoming Ramadan seasons respectively, said the advice became imperative in order to live in a peaceful environment.

The spokesman of the secret police, Peter Afunanya also cautioned clerics from both religions, traditional rulers and other stakeholders to refrain from economic exploitation, sabotage or profiteering during these important obligations.

“Residents are advised to remain vigilant against public dangers especially Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs),” Afunanya said, stressing that the service calls for tolerance, bonds of brotherhood, dialogue and peaceful coexistence among the populace.

“Also, the general public is urged to stay informed about potential threats; avoid crowded or suspicious areas and report to relevant security agencies any strange objects, activities and movements of hostile elements.”

According to him, the DSS recognises the significance of these sacred rites, that is why it enjoins worshippers to promote understanding, compassion and respect for one another during and after the exercises.

The secret police spokesman said, “Accordingly, the Management extends its heartfelt felicitations for peace, unity and harmony to adherents of these faiths. The DSS recognises the significance of these sacred rites and enjoins worshippers to promote understanding, compassion and respect for one another during and after the exercises.

“It appeals to stakeholders to refrain from economic exploitation, sabotage or profiteering during these important obligations. This is more so that illegal practices such as price gouging or unethical marketing tactics are ungodly; violate fairness and can undermine the true essence of the holy events.

“As believers, it is incumbent upon us to uphold good standards and ensure that everyone can observe the religious duties with ease and dignity. Furthermore, the Service encourages clerics and religious leaders to uphold empathy as well as prioritise cooperation and conflict prevention beyond the periods under reference.

“Similarly, the media is encouraged to utilise their platforms to foster informed and accurate engagements that (can) enhance the achievement of national security objectives and interests.

“Likewise, residents are advised to remain vigilant against public dangers especially Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Also, the general public is urged to stay informed about potential threats; avoid crowded or suspicious areas and report to relevant security agencies any strange objects, activities and movements of hostile elements.

“In the same vein, the Service calls for tolerance, bonds of brotherhood, dialogue and peaceful coexistence among the populace. Overall, the Service recommits to provision of strategic intelligence to other sister agencies in order to achieve a safe and secure country.

“As we undertake these spiritual journeys in the Lenten and Ramadan periods, let us remember to love and share the values that unite us. Let us reaffirm our commitment to the values of mercy, tolerance, forgiveness, being our brother’s keepers among others and by these, advance more inclusive and equitable society for us all.”

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