The Nigeria Police Trust Fund, (NPTF) is owing 18 months staff salaries, amid allegations of corruption and incompetence leveled against its Executive Secretary, Aliyu Ahmed Sokoto.
Sources privy to the development said staff are demoralized and unhappy with the agency’s management. Despite the backlog of unpaid salaries, the NPTF does not have its own office, since its creation in 2020.
Although the NPTF was established to give logistics support to the police, by way of training, equipping, and addressing welfare challenges facing police officers, sources claimed the agency has so far failed to do so. Some reports have said the agency had previously procured outdated and inferior equipment (including weapons) for the Nigeria Police Force and at inflated cost too.
A senior police source blamed Aliyu Sokoto for incompetence, which he attributed to why the agency had not achieved its mandate so far. The said Sokoto was deputy to Governor Aminu Tambuwal during the latter first tenure between 2015 and 2019, but both fell apart after he (Tambuwal) defected from the All Progressives Congress to the Peoples Democratic Party. Sokoto, who subsequently became the APC flagbearer, went on to challenge, but lost to, his former boss in the 2019 governorship race.
According to the source, Sokoto has an alleged penchant for bypassing due process in contract awards and for collecting kickbacks from contractors. This medium was unable to verify the claims independently, but found documents indicating the Independent Commission for Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences, (ICPC), has beamed its searchlights on the agency.
In an August 2021 letter to the NPTF, the Independent Commission for Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences, (ICPC), invited some of its management staff for questioning. They are the NPTF’s Director, Finance and Account; Store Officer and Store Verifier; Director, General Services. The ICPC also requested the NPTF’s store receipt vouchers and store issuance vouchers. As gathered, the anti-corruption agency was investigating bogus contract award for the purchase of some stationeries and computers. Although the agency ticked the items as having being bought, investigations reportedly showed otherwise.
“The ICPC got to the roots of the matter and found the contract to be a scam. Some management staffs are currently returning their share of the loot. That is just one of the issues affecting the agency,” said the high-ranking police officer.
The senior police officer said he later discovered to his utter shock that internal wrangling in the agency engendered the petition to ICPC. “I was told that the ES promised his management team two lot, amounting N300million. He, rather, sat on the money alone. I was also told that aides of the ES had collected money from contractors while promising them contract awards,” he added.
Equally, the NPTF’s ES is said to have instigated the transfer of some staffs from the agency while currently working to drop two of the directors from the management team. One of such is the agency’s former Director, Legal Services, Mrs. Victoria Ojogbana, whom he ensured was redeployed to the Ministry of Justice. Another, as mentioned, was Abdul Suleiman, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, who possesses a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Our source said the ES appears uncomfortable working with persons better educated than he or refusing to bend to his whims.
Equally, the NPTF ES has a running battle with the agency’s board, headed by former Inspector-General of Police Suleiman Abba. The board is said to be opposed to lack of transparency in the running of the agency.
Two years gone out of his six years mandate, the NPTF is towing the path of it precursor –the Police Equipment Foundation, (PEF).
Established in 2007, the PEF, headed by Kenny Martins was initiated to as support vehicle for addressing challenges facing the police. The PEF would become enmeshed in N50 billion corruption scandal.