COMMUNIQUE ARISING FROM THE 2-DAY ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY DIALOGUE ON POLICE TRUST FUND (ESTABLISHMENT) ACT 2019 HELD FROM 4TH – 5TH SEPTEMBER, 2019 AT CHELSEA HOTEL, CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT, ABUJA
The Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act 2019 (PTFA) is envisaged to enhance the professionalism and mandate delivery of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) through the finance of NPF’s key operations, training/retraining, welfare and purchase of various equipments needed by the Force. The Police Trust Fund is expected to be managed by a Board of Trustees set up by the President. There is urgent need for effective mechanisms to ensure transparency, accountability and oversight of the Police Trust Fund.
In view of the above, CLEEN Foundation organized a two-day dialogue on transparency and accountability of the Trust Fund. The meeting brought together key stakeholders including; the Nigeria Police Force, the Ministry of Police Affairs, the Police Service Commission, the National Human Rights Commission, the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Senate President, retired senior police personnel, civil society organizations working on police reform, the media and academia to deliberate and develop mechanisms for the Board of Trustees of the Police Trust Fund to function effectively.
OBJECTIVE OF THE DIALOGUE
The broad objective of the dialogue was to develop a framework that would ensure transparency and accountability in the management of Police Trust Fund, evolve a monitoring and evaluation framework and promote awareness of the PTFA.
KEY PROVISIONS OF THE NIGERIA POLICE TRUST FUND (ESTABLISHMENT) ACT 2019
Participants at the dialogue agreed that:
the provisions of the PTFA offer opportunities to address resource inadequacies of the NPF and will compliment efforts of the Federal Government to train, equip and motivate NPF personnel towards protecting lives and properties in Nigeria.
The PTFA established a Board of Trustees to manage the Trust Fund
The Trust Fund will last for six years and may be extended by law; and
The main sources of revenue for the Trust Fund as provided in Section 4 of the PTFA are:
1. “an amount constituting 0.5% of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account”;
2. “ a levy of 0.005% of the profit of companies operating business in Nigeria”;
3. “any take-off grant and special intervention funds as may be provided by the Federal, State and Local of the Federation”
4. “such moneys as may be appropriated to meet the objective” of the law “by the National Assembly in the Federal budget”;
5. “aids, grants and assistance from international bilateral; and multilateral agencies, non-Governmental organizations and the private sector;
6. “grants, donations, endowments, bequests and gifts, whether of money, land or any other property whatsoever from any source”;
7. “monies derived from investment made by the Trust Fund”.
That Section 5 of the PTFA provides for the utilization of the Trust Fund for the following:
1. “for meeting the training and re-training needs of the Nigeria Police Force and its auxiliary staff within and outside Nigeria”;
2. “for the enhancement of the skills of the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force and its auxiliary staff for improved proficiency in the use of operational equipment and machineries”;
3. “for the overall improvement, performance, and efficiency in the discharge of the duties, and responsibilities of the Nigeria Police Force;
4. “for the purchase of equipment, machineries, including operational vehicles for the Nigeria Police Force”;
5. ‘for the construction, of police stations, provision of living facilities, such as quarters, or barracks for the Nigeria Police Force”;
6. ‘to finance procurement of books, instructional materials, training equipment for use at Police Colleges and such other similar training institutions”;
7. “to meet the cost of participation by the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force at seminars and conferences relevant to or connected with policing or intelligence gathering”; and
8. “for such other purposes incidental to or connected with the attainment of the objectives” of the law.
That Section 10 of the PTFA makes provisions for the following responsibilities of the Board of the Trust Fund:
1. “setting out the policies and programs for the training and retraining of the personnel of the Nigeria police Force and its auxiliary staff in Nigeria and abroad in accordance with the intendment” of the Act;
2. “approving the disbursement of monies from the Trust Fund to finance projects or activities of the Nigeria Police Force and of the police institutions beneficiaries of the Trust Fund”;
3. “scrutinizing and approving projects which qualify for financing” under the Act;
4. “exercising control over the management of the Trust Fund with a view to ensuring accountability and proper utilization of money in the Trust Fund for the purposes set out” in the Act;
5. “carrying out such other activities as are considered necessary for the attainment of the objectives” of the Act;
6. ‘updating the Federal Government on its activities and progress through annual and audited reports”;
7. “reviewing progress and suggesting improvement within the provisions” of the Act;
8. “making and issuing guidelines from time to time, to all beneficiaries on disbursement from the Fund on the use of monies received from the Fund”; and
9. “generally regulating the administration, application and disbursement of monies from the Fund” under the PTFA.
1. Stakeholders at the event commended the Federal Government for enacting the PTFA to address challenges of poor funding that impact professionalism, effectiveness and efficiency of the NPF.
2. The participants agreed that transparency and accountability are essential in the proper management of the Trust Fund.
3. The Federal Government has underfunded the Nigeria police over the years. Funds appropriated for the NPF differs from actual funds released.
4. The stakeholders observed the lack of comprehensive needs assessment data from the NPF which has hampered proper budgeting and planning and overall development of police personnel over the years.
5. The stakeholders noted the absence of an oversight body/mechanism in the PTFA for checks and balances which makes the Trust Fund vulnerable to various forms of corruption including graft, embezzlement, fraud, nepotism, misallocation and diversion of resources based on interests that erode or undermine public good, efficiency and legitimacy.
6. Stakeholders’ unanimously agreed that despite the observed issues with the PTFA, the Federal Government should immediately commence implementation of the law.
7. The PTFA can be subjected to holistic amendment/review in the future to address gaps that have been identified or that may emerge from implementation.
8. The participants further noted that there may be conflict in the powers of the Executive Secretary of the Police Trust Fund, the Minister of Police Affairs, Inspector General of the Nigeria Police Force and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission. This should also be the subject of legislative review.
The participants resolved as follows:
1. That the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should constitute the Board of Trustees of the Police Trust Fund in line with the powers and functions enshrined in the PTFA.
2. That the Minister of Police Affairs should immediately recommend in a transparent manner, a credible and capable citizen of Nigeria to the President for immediate appointment as the Executive Secretary of the Police Trust Fund.
3. That the Board of Trustees when appointed should ensure proper transparency and accountability in the operations of the Trust Fund.
4. That the Board of Trustees should ensure that the disbursement of funds is based on needs assessment duly prepared by the NPF in a transparent and accountable manner.
5. That the Ministry of Justice should correct typographical errors in the PTFA before publishing the law in the Official Gazette of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
6. That the Federal Government should ensure the release of all levies and monies due to the Fund by directing relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies to comply.
7. Budgetary provisions for the management of the Fund be commenced through the 2019 supplementary budget to the National Assembly.
The Participants commended CLEEN Foundation for organizing the dialogue on the need for accountability and transparency process in the management of the Trust Fund. Participants enjoined all stakeholders in their various capacities to ensure that the objectives of the Trust Fund are achieved.
Dated this 12th Day of September, 2019.
Benson Olugbuo, Ph.D.
About CLEEN Foundation
The CLEEN Foundation (formerly known as Centre for Law Enforcement Education in Nigeria) is a non-governmental organization established in January 1998 to promote public safety, security and accessible justice through the strategies of empirical research, legislative advocacy, demonstration programmes and publications, in partnership with government, civil society and the private sector. Our vision is to be the leading civil society organization on public safety, security and access to justice in Africa. Visit www.cleen.org for more information.