By Oduyemi Odumade
In a significant move to address the deplorable living conditions of police officers in Nigeria, the House of Representatives has passed a resolution calling for the auctioning of police barracks across the country.
This decision came after the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance during plenary in Abuja, sponsored by a member from Edo, Murphy Omoruyi.
According to the Lawmaker, the motion was rooted in the context of the Police Reform Bill 2020, which was signed into law by the former President, Muhammadu Buhari, on September 16, 2020.
Omoruyi who emphasized that one of the primary objectives of the law was to improve the living conditions of the nation’s police officers pointed out that despite previous efforts, adequate and dignified accommodation for police officers remained an issue.
He revealed that between 2019 and 2022, over N5 billion had been spent by the Federal Government on barracks renovations.
He said however, despite these expenditures, the barracks failed to meet the basic needs of police officers due to their current state of disrepair and lack of maintenance.
Omoruyi argued that shifting from the outdated barracks model to an enhanced “Housing Allowance” determined by rank, the existing police salary structure, and location would be more beneficial for officers’ welfare.
This change, he believed, would also boost their morale and productivity, as well as improve the relationship between the police and the public.
The House of Representatives, in response to the motion, urged the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Police Affairs to collaborate with the Bureau of Public Enterprise to assess the value of all Federal barracks throughout the country.
Furthermore, an ad hoc committee was also established to develop a comprehensive addendum to the Police Reform Bill, involving input from relevant stakeholders.
The committee is expected to report back to the House within four weeks for further legislative action.
Additionally, the Committee on Appropriation has been tasked with reallocating funds meant for barracks maintenance.
The House has also called for an annual budgetary allocation for the construction of suitable “Housing for serving police officers and mandated the Committee on Police Affairs to ensure compliance with this directive.
Edited By Grace Namiji
Written by: Bukky Alabi
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