The House of Representatives has called upon the Federal Government to initiate the auction of police barracks nationwide as part of an effort to address the deplorable living conditions of Nigerian police officers.
Lawmakers also requested that the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Police Affairs collaborate with the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) to assess the value of federal-owned barracks and announce a public offering for them.
The resolution emerged following the adoption of a motion by Hon. Murphy Omoruyi, who emphasized the urgent need to improve the living conditions of Nigerian police officers. Omoruyi reminded the House that the National Assembly had passed the Police Reform Bill 2020 in September 2020, aiming to address the living conditions of police officers. However, he noted that the problem of inadequate and dignified accommodation for police officers persisted despite various efforts.
Between 2019 and 2022, the federal government had allocated over N5 billion for barracks renovations, yet these barracks continue to fall short in meeting the basic needs of the officers due to disrepair and lack of maintenance, Omoruyi highlighted. He pointed out that police officers living among the general population rather than in isolated barracks would promote community-oriented policing strategies and enhance public safety.
Omoruyi also criticized the barracks housing method for police officers, labeling it as an outdated colonial practice that had been abandoned by the colonialists in their home countries. He expressed concern over the squalid conditions in which police officers and their families lived, citing issues like deteriorating buildings, infestations, and leaking roofs.
Furthermore, he connected the poor welfare services for police officers to the perception of corruption within the force and the erosion of public confidence and respect for the officers. In urging the government to take action, the House of Representatives seeks to address long-standing challenges in the living conditions of police officers and work towards restoring public trust in the nation’s law enforcement agencies.