Police Reform: Nigeria needs a 21st century Police force
By Emeka Chiakwelu
The Police force is the physical embodiment of a representative
government, the closest manifestation of democracy to the people. It is
not farfetched to describe the police force as the face of a government.
The state of the police force – its appearance, psychology and
respectability delineate the worth and priority of a nation to a tourist
and potential investor.
In America, Britain, Japan and industrial nations the appearance and
ambiance of the police men and women speaks a volume, if not a thousand
words about those nations. These aforementioned nations held their
police force in high esteem and duly reward them with attractive salaries
and benefits. Nigerian cannot be an exception if she is serious about
building a respectful and prosperous democratic nation.
Nigeria needs to completely overhaul its police institute with a
comprehensive reform that will usher in a seasoned and improved trained
police men and women. Nigeria's reform of the police will not be a
piecemeal, where many issues affecting the force will be relegated to the
background for a quick fix. A comprehensive solution will be a panacea to
the end of the deficiencies associated with policing in Nigeria.
Nigeria cannot be a nation with a progressive economy without astute
security apparatus. Capitalists and investors must perceive a sense of
security in Nigeria before putting their capital in the country. Security
and peace will make Nigeria attractive to investors. There must be a
strong law enforcement apparatus if Nigeria will make a head way in
becoming one of the twenty largest economies by the year 2020.
All things being equal, the police force cannot rise to the occasion of
protecting lives and properties on empty stomach. Both literally and
figuratively the core men and women of the force are starving. Their
penury situations cannot allow them to be all they can be. They are
victims to corruption thereby debasing their profession of upholding law
and order. When reasonable and livable salaries are paid, they become true
professionals and the bad fruits in their midst can be detached and
rid-off from the force. To enhance and dignify the police force, who is
assigned the awesome job of fighting crimes in Nigeria, they must be
richly compensated and the perks must be made appealing.
Equipped police force
For Nigerian police force to become equal to the assigned responsibilities
of fighting crimes and upholding justice, it must be equipped with the
necessary materials including functioning communication system, efficient
vehicles and reliable armaments to deter and destroy targets.
Educated police force
An enlightened police force must be realized by setting up institutions of
higher learning dedicated to educating the police community. The
curriculum must be geared toward making a dedicated citizen whose civic
duties comes first. They must be exposed to the history and politics of
the country and must be educated on the inner workings of the governments.
Educated and enlightened police realized that the protection of lives and
properties are supreme to a well manage and progressive state.
Decentralization and Neighborhood policing
In democratic setting with Nigeria's rich diversity both in religion and
ethnicity, decentralization and neighborhood policing enriches community
and enhances security.
The colonial modus operandi of governance from top to bottom has been
proven unworkable and obsolete. Nigerian police must formulate a policy of
administration and operations that ascends with acceleration supervision
from bottom to top.
The local governments should be allowed to create and have their
autonomous police force, while the federal and state can maintain the
status quo. Police men and women should come from the neighborhoods and
communities that they are protecting. Abuja headquarters should not
control the entire police force structure from the far distant center. The
local governments must be empowered because of their proximity to the
people at the grassroots.
Emeka Chiakwelu, Principal Policy Strategist at AFRIPOL. His works have
appeared in Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes and many other
important journals around the world.
His writings have also been cited in many economic books, publications and many institutions of higher learning
including tagteam Harvard Education. Africa Political & Economic Strategic
Center (AFRIPOL) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental
objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa.
To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable
green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and
probity in Africa. [email protected] www.afripol.org