Moved by the rot at the Police College, Ikeja, Lagos, where men of the police are trained under inhumane conditions, the Senate yesterday vowed to carry out a holistic investigation into the funds allocated to the college and other training institutions in the force.
It also put the blame on itself for failing to effectively and efficiently perform its oversight role which would have detected the deplorable and appalling situation at the college and then raised an alarm prior to President Goodluck Jonathan’s visit.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan (ANPP, Yobe North) told journalists in Abuja yesterday that the Senate had completed arrangements to summon the Police authorities to explain how funds appropriated to the college were spent.
He added that the investigation of the committee would however go beyond the Police College, Ikeja, with a view to finding a lasting solution to the rot in the entire system.
Lawan, who could not state the exact amounts appropriated to the college, however said that it was clear from the visit of the president that some agencies of the government were not living up to expectations.
“The public accounts committee has already taken some steps to ensure that the police authorities appear before the committee to explain the utilisation of the funds appropriated particularly to the college. But we are also expanding beyond the college because this is a sign that all is not okay with the police organisation.
“I want to hope that the rot will stop with the police college. But if in the course of our investigation we discover that it is more than the college and that some organisations within the police are facing the same thing, then we have to take very serious action.”
He said that the first step was to determine if the funds appropriated were enough, and if they were not, they would like to know how efficiently and prudently the scarce resources were used.
“If, however, the funds were enough and someone failed to do his or her duty, we will surely recommend serious sanctions for whoever is responsible.”
Commenting on poor oversight by the National Assembly, Senator Lawan admitted that the legislature, especially the House and Senate committees on Police Affairs would have detected the rot in the college if they had done their jobs properly.
He also accused the Police Affairs Ministry and Police Service Commission of not doing a good job of supervising the college.
He said: ‘’These are people that are directly involved with them. So it is a responsibility that we share. But I believe that we are supposed to take the lead in the oversight process because this is our major work.
“We are supposed to be visiting institutions and organisations that have been appropriated public funds to ensure that the funds are utilised properly.
“So, this is an eye opener not only for the police affairs committees but for other committees. And the Senate President has consistently told us to ensure that we have oversight functions and programmes that would ensure that no public fund is put in another way or used in an imprudent manner.
He applauded the visit by President Jonathan and said more of such visits should be done as they show the trainees that the leaders are really concerned with what happens at their institutions.
When asked whether the probe will be as holistic as that of Bureau for Public Enterprise, BPE, Lawan said: “We did not do BPE investigation as a Public Accounts Committee. You would recall that the BPE assignment was an ad hoc assignment.
“This police issue is a public account assignment. What we will do is narrow down appropriations over the year to the police and see how much has been utilised and to what the revelation will be.
“But I don’t think we will begin to investigate the police from 1999 till date. We will focus on the budget. You would recall that BPE was a total investigation and everything was involved. But with the police, I don’t think that is where we are going.”