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By NBF News
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Say what you like,
I can't believe
every policeman is a thief
Constable Joe I know ….
The above song of the 1960s unwittingly suggests that the rot in the Nigeria Police started long ago and that today's scenario has a solid foundation that may be as old as the nation itself.

But there is a Nigerian, who strongly believes and even insists that the Nigerian policeman is a hapless victim of a society that is unsparingly harsh on the police but turns its eyes and ears away from the equally ugly sides of other service organizations and professions.

Try hard as you can at convincing her to the contrary, Pastor Joy Emmanuel Azaka of Overcomers Christian Centre Int'l distances herself from the seemingly popular view that virtually all policemen are unfriendly and irredeemably corrupt.

Instead, she would readily tell whoever cares to listen that, 'I believe in the Nigerian Police' and backs that belief with humanitarian gestures. Only recently, she organized what she tagged 'The Holy Police Summit' in Port Harcourt during which prizes were dished out to police personnel who were adjudged exemplary in the discharge of their duties.

Kicking against the popular view of the police as corrupt and unfriendly, Pastor Azaka said in an interview that the nation has more decent policemen than the corrupt and went further to point fingers at other professionals.

'A great percentage of Nigerians think that the police are a bunch of corrupt, wicked and unfriendly people but I have observed that they are simply a reflection of the Nigerian society. We have more decent policemen than the corrupt ones but man has a way of amplifying evil more than good. Well, excuse my opinion please.

'Look into the academia; lecturers ask students out rightly for bribes in cash or kind and ensure they fail their courses if the student does not co-operate. Only those in academic communities know the details and feel the pain of this wickedness.

'Many clinicians are involved in sharp practices that send people to their early graves. Sometimes families of the patients are just told, 'we tried our best but we lost him, sorry'. Most times, they insist you clear the bills before you take the corpse without even giving regards to the pain of losing a precious relation. They don't tell you what they did wrong. They don't tell you the compromises they made.

'There are bank managers who would demand for bribes before giving you a facility they know you genuinely need. They'll rather 'move' monies into accounts where they can generate interests for themselves. Nobody expresses so much hatred towards them as much as they do the police.

'What about dignified men who join hoodlums to rig elections and even physically run away with ballot boxes? Who is crying foul?

'When business men packaged sawdust in sachets and branded them with the name of a popular detergent, we cried foul for a while and forgot the issue'. Pastor Azaka who said her outreach was not out to launder the image of the police, reminded Nigerians of the Biblical promise that, 'while we were yet sinners Christ died for us', adding that God saw righteousness in rottenness and stretched forth His hands of love.

'Same here. I have first of all removed the police uniform from the policeman. I see him first as somebody's child, somebody's husband or wife, somebody's parent and a fellow Nigerian. Oh, I see him as that one for whom Jesus also died …. I see him as one that is wounded and helplessly needing the love and concern of the ones for whose sake he is suffering'.

She urged the government and the people to equip the police better to get the best out of the Force.

She would want Mr. President to build more modern police barracks and, 'help their minds' while Nigerians should spare a thought and some kindness for police personnel.

'If you can be nice to fuel attendants by leaving your N70 change most times you buy fuel, or you leave that N40 change for the supermarket attendant who contributes little or nothing to your life, how much more should you do for a police officer who under sunshine and rain, is on the road?

'Did you just say, he signed for it? That's enough reason he should be given a friendly handshake because it truly takes the heart of love to opt for such a job'.

Listing the woes faced by policemen and their families, Pastor Azaka urged Nigerians to spare some love and care for them.

'Some officers left home and told their wives what they will like to have as dinner but before dinner time, news reached the family that, 'Oga was shot dead by some armed bandits'.

'Whatever we give as a nation to these widows can only sustain them for a short while because the bread winner is no more. Many of their children drop out of school and their widows are not given a second chance to live their lives'.

Pastor Azaka who said she grew up 'in poverty, pain and deprivation', appealed to Nigerians to share in her dream for better life for Nigerian policemen and their families.