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IG ONOVO AND NIGERIAN POLICE : A TIME FOR TRANSFORMATION AND RENEWAL

By Emeka Chiakwelu

With appointment of Mr.Ogbonna Onovo as the new Inspector General of Police comes a big responsibility, a task and a commitment to make our country more secured and safe for our citizens. This is the time for total transformation of the police force and the new IG have what is takes to get the job done - Patience, Intellect, Discipline and Industry.

IG Onovo is intellectually brilliant and a seasoned policeman who is ever ready to do his best possible to enhance the security of our great country. Our President, His Excellency Umaru Yar'dua must be commended for giving opportunity to this patriotic Nigerian to render his proven professional skill to our country at this point in time. For investors to put their scare resources in the country they must be convinced that the security apparatus of our country can protect their investments including their families, relatives and employees. This is why it is significant that the head of the police force must be a person of integrity and industry. Onovo has a lot of challenges especially in reforming and restructuring the broken spirits of men and women of police force. Discipline and professionalism must be the building blocks of a great and dedicated police institute in Nigeria. IG Ogbonna Onovo's affirmative background coupled with education and experience prepared him to accomplish the task before him with distinction.

Nigeria can realize her vision 2020 by taking the intrinsic and pragmatic steps needed to accomplish her targeted vision. Among the myriad goals needed for vision 2020 is adequate security. The most important function of any government is to protect lives and property. For free enterprise and economic growth to be sustainable, security becomes imperative as the outstanding cornerstone for dvelopment. This is where the new appointed IG Onovo comes in. As the head of the security apparatus that protects and defends the rights of citizens he has one of the most important jobs in the country. The president who is the chief executive of democratic Nigeria needs the inspector general of police to be at his best and on top of issue with regards to leadership and security of our great country Nigeria.

The new Inspector General of Police has to offer his seasoned leadership in transforming the institute. Nigeria needs to completely overhaul its police institute with a comprehensive reform that will usher in a seasoned, improved and well 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 deficiency associated with policing in Nigeria. Capitalists and investors must perceive a sense of security in Nigeria to put in meaningful investments. Therefore security and peace will make investments attractive to Nigeria. 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. This is where the new Inspector General of Police will take charge and contribute a meanginful quota in the advancement of his country.

Salaries and Wages
All things being equal, the police force can not 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. The vulnerability to corruption is debasing the profession of upholding law and order. When reasonable and livable salaries are paid, they can 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 are assigned the awesome job of fighting crimes in Nigeria they must be richly compensated and their 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 and informations including functioning communication system, efficient vehicles and reliable armaments to deter and destroy targets.

Educated police force
A periodic training programs are necessary to keep the law enforcement officers current on the state of policing by attending frequent classes and lectures.

An enlightened police force must be realized by setting up institutions of higher learning dedicated to educating the police. The curriculum must be geared towards 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. They must realized that the protection of lives and properties are supreme to a well managed and progressive state.

let's hope that a new beginning has commenced in our country with this triumph of patience and meritocracy.



Emeka Chiakwelu is the Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol .

Africa Political and 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, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa. www.afripol.org