The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris has lamented that the maritime police is suffering from lack of skilled professionals, inadequate infrastructures and platforms, saying that this was why the police have not been able to police the waterways effectively.
The police boss stated this at the celebration of the world maritime day in Lagos on Tuesday.
He expressed sadness that the last time recruitment was done into the Marine Police Section of the Nigeria Police was in2003, leaving the vacancies created by retirements and other form of loss of manpower since the period.
Reiterating the lack of skilled manpower in the force, he said police beleaguered by lack of skilled manpower like Marine Engineers, Nautical Scientists, Quartermasters, River Masters, Coxwian (Boat Operators), Marine Engineering Assistants (MEA) among others.
In terms of infrastructures and platforms, the IGP noted that due to the high cost of Marine Police infrastructure and platforms, most of the Marine Police Stations are in lack of Infrastructures such as Jetties, Slip ways, Workshops, Fuel dumps as well as Platforms including; Combat Gun Boats, back up Boats, Fast Interceptor Boats, Equipment Conveyance Boats and others.
He stressed that this has adversely affected the effective performance of the deployed officers and men of the maritime police.
While lamenting poor partnership by the local communities as some of the challenges of the maritime police, the police boss said "The effectiveness of Policing being a community oriented service is generally hampered by apathy or indifference by the community members that the police is established to serve"
"It is noteworthy to highlight that many communities especially where marine related crime are committed on public or company properties, the community members who should aid the police by volunteering timely information either participate in such crimes as a way of “Getting their own national cakes” or remain indifferent as their kins enrich themselves with proceeds from such crimes, irrespective of the consequences on the environment as well as the socio -economy of the community and nations at large"
He said a vivid example is the cases of vandalization of pipelines and running of illegal refineries in the creeks of the Niger Delta region.
While proffering solutions to challenges militating against the Nigeria Police Force, Mr. Idris called for "Closer cooperation and partnership between the Police and other security agencies and the local communities through prompt information on those incidents that threatens their security/safety and that of the marine environment, collaboration of maritime stakeholders in provision of Police marine infrastructures and platforms.
“Though the present government has done tremendously well in this regards, a whole lot still need 'to be done in view of its capital intensive nature vis a vis the competing demands on government resources, hence the aid of stakeholders in provisions of the lacking infrastructures and platforms is also solicited to complement the current government effort", he stressed.