Army And Police Roles Are Quite Different.


Could somebody please tell the Nigerian Leadership that the roles of military and police are different? The military is not the adult version of police. They are related only to the extent that they both wear uniforms. The goals of one are different from the goals of the other and one cannot perform the functions of the other. The military cannot perform as police nor can the police perform as the army.  

  The function of the military is to use force (often brute force to eject the identified enemy from its identified location. Two key words are deliberately used in the last sentence: identified and force. The nation identifies an enemy and its location within or without the country and the nation orders the military to forcibly eject them. It often happens after peaceful solutions have failed. But for the police the enemy is merely a suspect whose location most often is not known. The police would first establish that an offence has been committed against the nation's laws, 'who done it?' and would then through investigations and strategies, arrest the culprit, bring him to a court to prove that an offence did indeed occur and prove the accused guilty. The accused meanwhile is presumed innocent and would seek all manner of ways to wriggle out of the mess, and they often do.  

  That is the role of the police.  
  Although they are called police force, force is seldom used. If police made 100 arrests it is likely that force would be used only in up to 5% of the cases. The military almost always requires the use of force.  

  In between the military who prefers and most often uses force and police who detests the use of force and rarely uses it are the Special Forces who sometimes act like the police and sometime like the military. They use detective means to identify the state's enemies, tries to arrest or more frequently kidnap (forceful arrest) the suspect and in special circumstances (as in Usman Bin Laden's case) kills the suspect without going through trial. The use of Special Forces is most often not seen by the public and the members are not visible even to its citizens and their operations are mostly clandestine. You have to be 'really inside' to know who the members are.  

  What Nigeria needs now are the Police Force and the Special Forces.  

  The use of the military in today's security world is becoming an anachronism. We no longer have a massed force outside or inside our borders trying to upend us. Our external and internal enemies have already organized themselves as Special Forces and would snick in on us to attack.  

  We need to reorganize as well.  
  So when I read that the Army has taken up the task of providing security around Abuja, I can only laugh. Those who are bombing cities in Borno, Abuja, or kidnapping in Delta, Anambra, and Abia etc are not Biafran Soldiers. They do not have a Commander in Chief that we know of, have no battalion, Brigade, or Division headquarters; no weapons dumps that can be easily identified and destroyed; no uniforms; nothing that a military unit can attack and destroy. Their members walk around in civilian outfit; mingle with us in our markets and schools and mosques and churches.  

  How can any general, no matter his ability, deal with such people?  

  What is need is an organization that could infiltrate their web and supply information to the police or Special Forces for execution. It is said that soldiers fight the last war, never the current war. Deploying the Army to provide security in Abuja is like re-fighting the Nigerian Civil War. That war has been over for over 40 years; the generals are mostly retired and out of commission. Making the new generals fight that war over again is a waste. This is why I had called for a demobilization of our armed services so that we can reconstitute them as Special Forces and an efficient and Mobile Police. If we deploy the reorganized forces against Boko Harem we may have some success if we send the army against them, Boko Harem would win each time.  

  The army might even help them win when the army ruthlessly attacks as the army is wont to do. By providing them recruits angry enough to enlist.  

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba can be reached @