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Reps urge auctioning of police barracks to address deplorable living conditions of officers

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Reps urge auctioning of police barracks to address deplorable living conditions of officers

The House of Representatives is calling for the auctioning of police barracks across Nigeria in an attempt to address the deplorable living conditions of officers.

The resolution was reached after Rep. Murphy Omoruyi (LP-Edo) presented a motion of urgent public importance during plenary in Abuja on Thursday.

Omoruyi highlighted that the Police Reform Bill 2020, signed into law by former President Muhammadu Buhari on September 16, 2020, highlighted adequate and dignified accommodation as one of its core issues.

Omoruyi said despite spending over N5 billion between 2019 and 2022 by the Federal Government on barracks’ renovations, the problem of officers’ accommodation continues to persist.

Rehabilitation attempts have failed, with police officers’ families living in squalor characterized by large cracks on the walls, bat-infested houses, and leaking roofs.

“Having officers of the Nigeria Police living amongst the general population, rather than in their secluded barracks will significantly satisfy these calls and enhance public safety,” he said.

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The barracks housing model is a relic of colonial practice abandoned by colonialists, and officers’ public image is affected by their lack of welfare services.

The proposed enhanced “Housing Allowance” determined by rank and location, replacing the barracks model, would greatly benefit police officers and restore the public’s confidence and respect for them.

Adopting the motion, the House urged the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Police Affairs, and the Bureau of Public Enterprise to assess the value of all federal-owned barracks across Nigeria, with a public offering option.

The House constituted an ad hoc committee to produce a comprehensive addendum to the Police Reform Bill with input from all stakeholders.

The Committee on Appropriation will redeploy funds meant for the maintenance of barracks across the country, ensuring a befitting “Housing Allowance” for serving police officers and annual budgetary allocations while the Committee on Police Affairs ensures compliance.

The ad hoc committee will report back to the House within four weeks for further legislative action.

With this move, the House hopes to address the deteriorating welfare of officers, elevate morale and productivity, and enhance public safety through more community-oriented policing strategies.

NAN

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