opinionBy John Tosin Ajiboye
President Goodluck Jonathan's recent visit to the Nigeria Police College, Ikeja, and en route Cote d'Ivoire for ECOWAS summit on Mali on January 18 was a visit long overdue; it was better late than never.
Though the visit was triggered by a documentary shown on the Lagos - based Channel Television, the president did not inform the IGP, DIG 'E' Department in charge of trainee, AIG in charge of Lagos and Ogun, or Commissioner of Police in Lagos State. That kind of unscheduled visit allowed the president to see things the way they were. I think Mr President should be commended because if he had informed the police bigwigs, they could have look for ways to colour the true situation of things in the facility.
The picture painted in the documentary that precipitated the visit was that of total neglect.
During the visit, Jonathan moved round and saw the level of dilapidation of the college. The grass were not cut, the hostels facilities too bad, the wall separating the college from the highway patrol barracks, Ikeja collapsed a year ago, thus giving access into the college by all manners of people, making the security in the college to be pathetic.
Apart from the rot, the college is also being dogged by recruitment scandals which came to the surface when Mr. President visited. It was alleged that many underage were recruited, which prompted the president to ask for the age of one of the trainees. Another problem of the college is the fraud allegedly being perpetrated on the trainees. Each trainee was paid N3000 allowance, instead of N14000.
All these made prompted the president to ask different questions from the college commandant, none of which was answered. Like the president, there is nobody that will not be angry if they see the rate of rot in the college, in spite of the huge of amount of money that was being allocated to police colleges in budgets.
In 2011, N291.946 million was budgeted for all the ten police colleges across the nation. In 2012, N296.757million was budgeted for them; and in 2013 budget, N280million has also been set aside for the same purpose. This is apart from the money each of the college generates from renting out its field to the public for ceremonies, as was witnessed on the day Jonathan visited the Ikeja facility, not to talk of another huge amount it generates from outdoor advertising agencies who always erect their billboards in the college premises.
But it is a pity that all the money that is meant for development of these police colleges is embezzled.
However, President Jonathan must not see the television documentary as a calculated attempt to damage the image of his government as he has said; but rather he should see the documentary as a wakeup call to his government. Therefore, instead of angrily asking for who permitted Channels Television crew to film the depreciation in the facilities of Police College Ikeja, he should be serious with the question why and how the college got to that deplorable state in spite of the huge amount of money that is being pumped into them.
The DIG 'E' Department who is in charge of the trainees and all the college commandants have questions to answer on how they have been managing the college's monies. The IGP and his predecessors and some other past DIG 'E' Department must also be asked to say what they knew on how the Police College Ikeja came to that deplorable state. After the thorough investigations, anyone that is found wanting must be dealt with accordingly.
Most importantly, all the police colleges located in Ikeja, Lagos State; Kaduna, Kaduna State; Maiduguri, Borno State; Oji-River, Enugu State; Iperu, Ogun State; Ibadan, Oyo State; Nonwa-Tai, River State; Oyin Akoko, Ondo State; Gwoza, Borno State and in Ila-Orangun in Osun State, must be put in good shape so that our police officers will be well-trained, well-equipped and able to fight crime.
Ajiboye wrote from Osogbo