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FG, States, LGAs Earmark N420bn To Revamp Police

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Agreement have been reached by the federal, states and local governments in Nigeria to contribute jointly the sum of N420 billion for the next five years to reposition the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).

The Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC), Deputy Inspector – General of Police, DIG, (Retired) Mr. Parry Osayande, who made this public while addressing newsmen in Enugu at the weekend, explained that the money would be used in building modern police barracks, expand and  modernize the existing ones, buying new equipments, train and re-train members of the NPF, expand and modernize the existing Police Colleges , as well as build one police college in each of the six geo-political zones of the country.   

Mr. Osayande, who was in Enugu with other members of the commission in continuation of their nationwide visit of Police formations, further stated that the commission, also responsible for promotion and  disciplinary matters in the NPF from the rank of constable to Deputy Inspector –General of  Police (DIG), is committed to improving the NPF, in order to restore its lost glory. 

 While stating that the chairman of the proposed funds  would be the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. Mr  Osayande  also gave the hint that the eight-member commission was also mandated to revamp the force. 

According to him, promotions in the  NPF would no longer be based on Federal Character arrangement as it was in the past, saying that all promotions would henceforth be based purely on merit.  He said this will serve as encouragement to policemen to work harder, expressing optimism that the transformation of the NPF would yield fruitful dividend at the end of the exercise.

 “The Police Service Commission will no longer allow Federal Character to affect promotion exercises in the police. You don’t need to pay money to get promoted. “At the same time, you don’t need to pay money to be posted from point  A to point B”, he said. 

He, therefore, used the forum to warn  members of the force on corruption , especially as it concerns extortion of money from motorists and  innocent citizens,  as well as human rights abuses, advising them to desist from such misconduct or be ready to face the music if apprehended. 

 The Edo state-born retired police officer, expressed regret that prior to the appointment of the present police service commission, men and officers of the police force, who were due for promotion were stagnated in their old ranks for years, assuring that the present commission under his leadership was poised to address the trend.

 According to him, the commission is committed towards ensuring that the NPF is completely repositioned with a view to engaging its personnel in more    proactive policing,  adding the that welfare of the men and officers would continue to remain one of its top priority at all times.

Arrangements, he went on,  are equally on for the establishment of some forensic laboratories in various parts of the nation, stressing that training and re- training  of officers and men of the security outfit would also be given serious attention. He stated that the commission wants to put in place a police that is always battle ready to face the 21st century security challenges.

 Admitting the alarming rate of corruption in the NPF, the PSC chairman  also blamed some of the problems on under funding of the establishment by successive administrations in the country. 

He, thus called on all and sundry to join hands with the commission and government in repositioning the force , saying that security remains the business of every “Dick and Harry”.

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Customs Suspends Rice Sale As Seven Die In Stampede

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The Nigeria Customs Service has announced the suspension of the sale of foodstuffs following a stampede that reportedly killed seven persons at the NCS Old Zonal Headquarters in the Yaba area of Lagos State, last Friday.
A Chief Superintendent of Customs and National Public Relations Officer for Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Maiwada, disclosed the suspension of the exercise in a statement on Monday.
Nigeria Customs had said it was selling seized food items at N10,000 per 25kg to alleviate the people’s suffering as a result of the current high cost of living and other economic hardships.
Last Friday, a pregnant woman and six others reportedly died in a stampede after some suspected hoodlums attempted to force their way into the Yaba Customs office compound.
Some Lagos residents who thronged the NCS office in Yaba expressed disappointment on Monday following the suspension of the initiative.
However, in a statement on Monday evening, the NCS said the suspension became necessary considering “the recent unfortunate event.”
“We regrettably announce the suspension of this exercise until we establish what transpired on Friday, February 23, 2024,” the NCS spokesman said.
He explained that: “The disposal of the food items got off to a smooth start at about 0800hrs. We enjoyed the cooperation of the large crowd that obliged us, giving preferences to the elderly, people living with disabilities, pregnant women, and other vulnerable Nigerians who showed up for the exercise.
“This was the case up until about 1700hrs, as attested to by the over 5,000 beneficiaries and members of the press. However, unforeseen challenges arose when we ran out of stock and announced the continuation of the exercise the following day, leading to a regrettable outcome.
“The crowd became desperate and charged through our barricades in search of rice bags inside emptied containers. In the stampede that ensued, some fatalities and injuries were regrettably recorded.”
The Customs extended its “heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the unfortunate incident.”
The service said it was working with health authorities to establish contact and engage directly with the victims’ families on their next steps.

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Court Dismisses Police Objection Against Fubara’s CoS …Restrains Police From Arresting Ehie

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A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, yesterday, dismissed the preliminary objection by counsel to the Nigerian Police, Celestine Dickson, challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to hear the fundamental rights suit by the Chief of Staff to Governor Siminalayi Fubara, Hon. Edison Ehie against the police for lack of merit.
The trial Judge, Justice Sika Aprioku, in a ruling, yesterday, assumed jurisdiction and held that the non-joinder of the Nigeria Police Force in a matter that the Commissioner of Police is a party to does not render the suit incompetent.
Justice Aprioku said the application by the Police lacks merit and thereby dismissed it with a cost of N100,000 in favour of Hon Edison Ehie.
Aprioku also granted the prayers of the counsel to Edison, Damian Okoro to restrain the Police from arresting, detaining, harassing, or inviting Ehie based on the trumped-up charges in the suit by Rt Hon. Martin Amaewhule in connection to the destruction of the Hallow chamber of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, counsel to the Police, Celestine Dickson, said he would study the judgment and advise his clients accordingly.
Dickson stated, “That is the wisdom of the court and we cannot criticise the wisdom of the court. The outcome of court decisions must bind parties.
“If you are not satisfied I think you study the judgement and take the next step. The court made it clear that in a couple of minutes, we were going to have copies of the judgement. That will give us the opportunity to look at the judgement and advise our clients accordingly.
On his part, one of the counsel to the Chief of Staff, Ibioku Mac-Barango said the judgment reflects the position of the law.

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Fubara Expresses Confidence In Tinubu To Address Labour Concerns

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In the midst of the ongoing nationwide protest organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has expressed confidence in President Bola Tinubu’s ability to address the concerns raised by the organised labour and alleviate their fears.
Fubara gave the assurance during the NLC’s protest to the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday .
The State NLC, led by its chairman, Alex Agwanwor, had joined its counterparts in other parts of the country to protest against high cost of living in the country occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government in May last year.
Recall that there have been a series of protests across the country over the cost of living, inflation, insecurity and hardship among Nigerians.
The NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had on February 8 issued a 14-day nationwide strike notice to the Federal Government over the failure to implement the agreements reached on October 2, 2023 following the removal of the fuel subsidy.
Responding to a letter of demands presented to the governor by the State NLC, Fubara noted that the grievances outlined by the protesters primarily fell within the purview of the Federal Government.
The governor, who was represented by the Head of the Rivers State Civil Service, Dr. George Nwaeke, said, “To all who listened to every presentation of the labour leader as it is being read out, we can find out none is local, not originating from local source here. They are all national issues and we have hope in the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Federal Government. We have hope. And I know Governor Fubara will also deliver this message as presented by you to the President.”
Fubara further assured the protesters that his administration remained committed to alleviating the economic hardships faced by the people of Rivers State.
He highlighted initiatives such as the provision of palliative buses in response to the fuel subsidy removal and the ongoing development of 20,000 housing units for low-income earners.
The governor also emphasized his administration’s dedication to improving the welfare of civil servants, citing measures such as the employment of 10,000 youths into the state civil service, promotions, and the provision of bonuses.
He affirmed the significance of the issues raised and reiterated his commitment to prioritizing the welfare of workers in the State.
He, however, assured that the NLC’s demands would be conveyed to the President as presented.

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