‘Deduction into Police Fund illegal’

GOVERNORS elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have faulted the deduction of 0.5 per cent of revenue accruing to the Federation Account into the newly established Police Trust Fund.

The Governors urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to immediately repeal Section 4(1) of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act, 2019.

It’s the said Section 4(1) of the Act that authorises the President to deduct 0.5 percent of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account for the Police Trust Fund.

In a communique released after a Zoom meeting and signed by the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State, the governors described the deduction as patently unconstitutional.

They further observed that there were discrepancies in Section 12(2) and 12(4) of the Act regarding the appropriate authority with responsibility to deploy Police Commissioners to the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

The communiqué stated: “The meeting noted the signing of the New Nigeria Police Act, 2020 by Mr. President, Commander in Chief.

“While acknowledging the many important innovations in the new law, the Forum emphasised the need to make the Nigeria Police Council, which has Mr President as Chairman and 36 state Governors as members, fully operational and the clearing house on all issues bordering on the organisation and administration of the Nigeria Police Force as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.

“The Forum further observed the discrepancies in S.12(2) and S.12(4) of the Act on the appropriate authority with responsibility to deploy Police Commissioners to the respective states.

“Whereas S.12(2) gives the responsibility to the Police Service Commission, S. 12(4) gives either the Police Service Commission or Inspector-General of Police the same responsibility.

“This is even more regrettable as the Constitution gives this responsibility to the Police Service Commission (S. 215)(1)(b). We advise that the constitutional provision be upheld.

“Furthermore, the Forum canvassed for appropriate consultations with the Governors of various states on the deployment of Police Commissioners to the states since the Police is a common institution that executes the laws of both the federal and state governments.

“The Forum implored Mr. President and the National Assembly to repeal Section 4(1) of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act, 2019 which purports to authorise the President to deduct 0.5% of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account for the benefit of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund, as it is patently unconstitutional.

“The beneficiaries of the Federation Account are the federal, states and local governments only. More creative funding options should be explored.

The communique, which was made available to journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, also expressed the Governors’ apprehension over the controversial Water Resources Bill, 2020.

Calling for broader consultations and public engagement on the Bill, the Forum revealed that it has referred the Bill to the bodies of Attorneys-General of PDP state governments for advice.

“The Forum noted the controversy surrounding the Water Resources Bill, 2020 and noted the stepping down of the Bill in the House of Representatives. It urged further consultations and public engagement in the processing of the Bill”.

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