A coalition of 82 civil society organisations has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to review the composition of the constitution of the Board of Trustees of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund.

The coalition posited that the board does not only breach federal character but also lacks consultation by the President before appointing people to represent various interest groups and key stakeholders.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had on Wednesday announced the constitution of the Board of Trustees for the Nigeria Police Trust Fund.

Reacting to the development, the coalition held that the constitution of the board was unduly delayed after the trust fund was passed into law in 2019. 

It added that by the undue delay in constituting the board, nearly one year of the trust fund's six-year tenure was already lost.

Highlighting that the board breaches the federal character, the coalition stated that the appointment of retired Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, as Chairman, and the appointment of Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto as Executive Secretary of the board breaches the federal character principle.

The coalition said, “They both come from the same geopolitical zone.  Section 14(3) of the constitution provides that "The composition of the government of the federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few state or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or in any of its agencies".

“The penchant by successive presidents to appoint retired Inspectors General of Police to head institutions or mechanisms simply because they have to do with the police has proved to be a misguided and costly mistake.

“A trust fund needs to be chaired by an experienced private sector administrator with integrity and expertise in financial management. It also needs to be insulated from politics and bureaucracy.”

The coalition also posited that there was no evidence that consultation was made before the constitution of the board.

It also frowned at the appointment of Dr Michael Bamidele Adebiyi to represent civil society.

It also called for the need for professional management of the police trust fund.

“There is no evidence of consultation by the President before appointing people purported to represent various interest groups and key stakeholders. An example is the appointment of one Dr Michael Bamidele Adebiyi to represent civil society.

“The appointment of members of a trust fund should be preceded by wide consultations. In fact, we believe that the Police Council ought to have been involved in the process considering that state governors who are critical stakeholders bear the greater burden of funding the police far more than the Federal Government whose responsibility it is.

“The appointment and composition of the Trustees of the Police Trust Fund should be beyond primordial considerations. It must inspire trust in the police, potential donors and the general public. If it does not, then the trust fund is dead on arrival.”

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