Kayode Egbetokun, Inspector-General of Police (IGP), has explained that he met a battered Police Force upon assumption of office.
The IGP made the disclosure on Tuesday before the House of Representatives during a plenary to brief the lower legislative chamber on the efforts of the Police to secure the country.
According to Egbetokun, the police lack the facilities, equipment and other resources needed to run a functional force.
“Unfortunately, we met on the ground a police force that had been battered.
“A police force that has suffered serious neglect over the past few years. The police also find itself operating in a very difficult environment partly as a direct consequence of this neglect,” he said.
Egbetokun added that the manpower of the police is ”grossly inadequate”, adding that “even the criminals know that.”
The IGP said the United Nations’ recommended 1:400 policing ratio is currently unachievable in Nigeria, noting that the current ratio stands at 1:1,000.
While calling for redoubling of manpower in the police force, he said, “We have 1,137 police divisional headquarters across 774 LGAs in Nigeria but getting operational vehicles for the division is difficult.
“Each of these divisions requires at least four functional vehicles but we have divisions that don’t have any functional operational vehicles as of today.
“The welfare of personnel is nothing to write home about. Funding is critical to achieving the mandate of the Nigerian police.
“Unfortunately, the citizens are not interested in our excuses for underperformance. What the citizens want is performance.
“They want us to serve them. We are willing to serve them but we need your cooperation, funding, more manpower, and logistics to train our men adequately.
“We need to improve the welfare of our officers, we want a well-motivated workforce in the police.”
Egbetokun said despite all the inadequacies, in the police, the force has been doing so “wonderfully” well.
He said police officers have been doing their best to protect lives and properties across the country.
“We have been responding to the best of our ability but unfortunately, no agency can perform beyond the limit of resources available to it,” he said.
The IGP noted that he plans to leave a police force that officers and Nigerians will be proud of.
He said in the last five months, several arrests have been made, including recoveries of illicit weapons, adding that some suspects are undergoing prosecution.
Egbetokun said the police cannot secure Nigeria alone and need the support of every Nigerian to succeed.
“But within the environment where we function, the police have done so well and we are still doing so much.
“We believe in inter-agency cooperation and we are leveraging on the availability and the cooperation that is available from other agencies.
“We appeal for cooperation and collaboration and that Nigerians should please support the police. We are implementing community policing strategies but we are reviewing this.
“Recently, I announced the establishment of a special intervention squad which is going to be a standby unit of at least 1,000 men in each of the states.
“These men would be socially trained, specially equipped, and ready for deployment at the shortest notice in any area of the country where there are crises.
“This way we intend to join the military in fighting terrorism in the north-east and fight armed banditry in the north-west and north-central.
“Fight kidnapping and armed robbery across the country and ensure that we reduce violence in our country to the nearest minimum,” he added.
The police chief further urged the parliament for increased budgetary provisions to enable the force meet the expectations of Nigerians.