As the nation grapples with insecurity, the inspector general of Police, Mohammed Abubakar has lamented the cut of N13 billion personnel cost in the 2014 budget of the Nigeria Police Force, saying if passed that way, salaries and allowances of men of the Force will not get paid.
Abubakar, made this disclosure when he appeared before the House Committee on Police Affairs to defend the budget of the police yesterday.
The IG urged the lawmakers to ensure that the issue is addressed before the budget is passed by the National Assembly to avert a likely crisis that could ensue as a fallout of the action.
"Mr. Chairman, this is a serious shortfall. Very soon, it means that we will not be able to pay salaries.
"I urge the committee to address this in order to avoid a likely crisis; this has to do with the welfare of our personnel", he stated.
Going further, the IG lamented that the overhead cost for police operations has been on the decline since 2009 and all at a time when the police is over-stretched by insecurity across the country.
Explaining the decline in funding of police operations, he said in 2009, the overhead cost was N10.8bn; in 2010, it was N15.6bn; in 2011, it was N5.5bn; N8.1bn in 2012; N7.6bn in 2013 and N6bn in 2014.
For example, he said the N6bn voted for personnel cost could not cover the cost of fueling the 10,232 police vehicles scattered all over the country.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the committee, Hon. Usman Kurmo, aligned himself with the submission of the Police boss, saying the committee had noticed the reduction and have started taking action on it by asking the budget office to sort it out.
Kurmo said, "As a committee, we have done a calculation on what the IG is saying; the money is about N13bn. "That is the much that was reduced in the personnel cost of the police force in the budget", he stated while noting that in 2013, the personnel cost of the police was N293.5bn and reduced to N279bn in the 2014 budget.
The lawmaker said the cut comes as a surprise considering that there was no retrenchment nor heavy retirement carried out by the police in the last one year that could lead to a reduction of N13bn from their salary budget.
Kurmo also explained that the director general of Budget Office, Dr Bright Okogu gave assurances that the office started an integrated salary payment system across all agencies since 2013, resulting in cuts for many of them and that "what is provided for the police will be enough for the personnel cost" even as a provision for a shortfall has been made with money drawn from Service Wide vote.
The lawmakers however urged the committee to prioritise it's expenditure so that important areas will be given more funds while lamenting that, "if we want to transform the country, then we must first transform the security agencies".