OUR POLICE ROT OR SHINE FROM THE HEAD DOWN
We now missed the former Chief of Police Mohammed Abubakar. He is evidence that a country can be saved if we have enough behavioral change into sincere men and women that can form a quorum everywhere. When he came in and promised that he would stop road blocks, most of us not only doubted him, we thought it was so ingrained that it could not be done. He did it!
Our skepticism was based on the fact that every Chief of Police promised that all semblances of road blocks and permanent check points would be dismantled. The promise never took hold until Mohammed Abubakar became Chief. As soon as he retired, the police could not wait to go back to their old ways. The noticeable difference was inflation or making up for their lost bribes. Police demanded 50, Mobile Police 100 and Soldier 200 naira.
It was not that road blocks were perfectly abolished but we felt the difference in our pockets and knew the past Chief Abubakar meant business. A protest letter addressed to the new acting Chief of Police was published on the internet that road block are back It killed the gains and peace we had based on onerous effort of one man from the top that percolated to the rank and file. All the Oga At The Top collecting money became afraid of losing their jobs and complied.
Our Country Police are another reflection of the society and how low we have come. We are scorned by friends and enemies because our corrupt practices are open and practiced with impunity. The hope of Africa and the wish of the rest of the world that the way Nigeria was developing around Independence, the country would become a regional world power, was lost. It has not come to pass. We cannot even help ourselves, not to think about helping others.
Abubakar is a product of the same corrupt practices but one that became determined that he was going to make a change. He picked his own task, regardless of other wrongs he might have or might not have committed and he proved us wrong. Road blocks stopped during his reign in Nigeria. It did not matter how many enemies he made from the rank and file to their bosses collecting shares from police road blocks.
We cannot forget that people got killed from refusing to give police blooded twenty naira. The few that dared challenged them or drivers and conductors that complained of double payments got shot at, and some of them died. It became life and death issue. Some of the police claimed they had to pay to be posted there, others went as far as the House that Oga at the Top collect their own share. When salaries are not paid, bribe is what they used to feed their families.
Indeed, most do not care or complain about unpaid salaries as long as they are posted to areas where they can take bribe. But then, you can hardly find any area of police work where bribes are not relatively sought. They can commandeer private molue, pick innocent citizens up at the bus stops and lock them up at the police stations until they can 'prove' they are not criminals before bailing them out. You wonder if we have law and order; only due process for the rich.
The amount of money saved by individuals after Abubakar stopped road blocks could be billions in estimate that served as a stimulus into the economy, instead of their way into the pocket of police. The more money in your pocket, the more you give to wife and children before leaving home since police bribe on the road was almost dead under Abubakar. If not dead, those rogue police risking it knew they were taking chances.
There was the commissioner of police in Lagos State that adhere to his boss promised and even answered a woman's emergency call to her surprise. It all points to the example, determination and change of attitude at the top. Once subordinates understood that the chief meant business, they all fell in line. While many of us were celebrating a promise fulfilled by the Chief of Police, others were busy digging up his past to embarrass and derail his changed corrupt attitude.
We are not naÃ¯ve; there are few saints in the police of a country that has degenerated as much as Nigeria. We have many cases of rogues and bandits that finally realized that money is not everything. After you have accumulated so much, it becomes an albatross to easy, simple and decent living. Many billionaires that made money the old fashion ways gave most away before they died as scholarships to the poor and organizations that help lift them up.
You can then imagine the guilt of those that acquire money through the blood and suffering of their fellow humans. Nemesis always catches up with them and their children no matter where they are. The Police are not better off either. They contribute to their own suffering while those they deliver to, take the money outside the country to spoil their children and foreign Susies.
Others complained that road blocks and police check points are very few in the Northern part of the country if any. It may have encouraged Boko Haram to go without hindrances on their part. We know that is not true. Give credit to our brothers and sisters in the North. They do not take that type of nonsense from Police or Army. Boko Haram operates in broad day light. They have their sponsors among the politicians, Army and other billionaires.
Some people actually believe road block are security checks in this day of high communication and technology. Robbers know where police are stagnant at road blocks making it impossible to mount quick arrest of kingpins and robbers that are more mobile and inform one another of Police locations too busy taking bribes.
We have our fingers crossed and wait for the order from the Acting Police Chief that they must dismantle all semblances of road blocks and permanent check points. Is this a promise like that of retired Mohammed Abubakar or the type of promises made by all new Police Chiefs?
Written by Farouk Martins Aresa.