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If the comments credited to Mr Solomon Arase, the newly appointed Inspector General of Police, IGP worth its weight in gold, Nigerians can begin to sing Hosanna. Before then, there is the need to reappraise previous promises or grandstanding of former police henchmen who shouted “Police Reform” and deafened themselves unto the bargain thereafter.

The Acting Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, has been quoted as saying that police road blocks breed corruption. He warned that any police personnel caught mounting road blocks anywhere in the country would be made to face the law.

Announcing his mission, the new police enthused: “The drive will be clear, coordinated, massive, firm and sustained and it will target and tackle issues relating to commercialization of bail process, the nuisance of road blocks and abuse of police powers, particularly, in relation to pre-trial detention.

“I wish to in clear terms, re-emphasize that police road blocks remain banned. They are public nuisance, points of corruption, and source of police-citizens' frictions. “The loss of public respect and confidence in the police as well as our inability to effectively tackle crimes in the most ethical and professional manner have been widely attributed to the challenge of corruption within the policing system.”

Arase went further to say that Commissioners of Police, Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers in whose jurisdiction illegal road blocks are detected will be personally held liable and strict disciplinary actions will be initiated against them. Fine talk from a highly disciplined officer!

The Nigeria Police Force, over time have earned incredible appellation as the most untrained, dirtiest, underfunded, brutal and reprehensible force across the globe. They have, at the snap of the fingers despatches lawful citizens into early grave without provocation. How they achieve and unleash such orgy of sadism is a matter of conjecture. I have been victimised unjustly by the police; you probably have fallen victim to their repressive antics and, your loved ones have.

A friend joked recently about the, NPF, as the most hated and abused institution in Nigeria, followed by Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN. If the Nigeria Police fail to come to term with its constitutional responsibility as designated in the provisions of sections 353-368 of Part XV of the Police Act (cap359) and other relevant Force Orders as well as Public Service Act. How about the Police Mission to make Nigeria safer and more secured for economic development and growth; create a safer and secured environment for everyone living in Nigeria?

What is the Police Force doing about the endemic problems plaguing the recruitment process training, inefficiency, and indiscipline, and lack of expertise in specialized fields? How are they tackling the widespread corruption and dishonesty that has engenders a low level of public confidence? How about failure to report crimes, and the tendencies to resort to self-help by the Nigerian citizens? How about the accusations that the Police are more adept at paramilitary operations and the exercise of force than at community service functions or crime prevention, detection, and investigation?  If policing in Nigeria is what those who preside over its management is what they said it is, then we will, as a people have reasons to applaud the force for leaving up to expectation. Because we are aware of what they are and do exactly opposite of what they claims they are, they can’t escape the people’s outright rejection or denunciation.

After all, it’s not for nothing that the criminologist Jean-Paul Brodeur identified two types of policing: “high policing” and “low policing”. The former relates to the work of intelligence services at the counter terrorism and Regional Organised Crime Unit end of the business, while the latter refers to community policing often conducted by uniform officers. This concept of low policing he divides into two types: “wide” and “narrow” policing.

“Wide policing” has a variety of objectives; for example, reducing crime, catching criminals, tackling terrorism and reassuring the public – what perhaps we understand today as neighbourhood policing. By contrast, the concept of “narrow policing” focuses on a more limited set of policing objectives. An example of narrow policing is the concept of policing held by the home secretary, Theresa May. She said in 2011 that the “sole objective against which they [police] will be judged as the no-nonsense crime fighters they signed up to become… is their success in cutting crime”.

From Louis Edet as IGP, 1964–1966, Kam Salem 1966–1975, Muhammadu Dikko Yusufu 1975–1979, Adamu Suleiman 1979 –1981,  Sunday  Adewusi 1981–1983, Etim Inyang 1985–1986, Muhammadu Gambo-Jimeta 1986–1990, Aliyu Atta 1990–1993, Ibrahim Coomassie 1993–1999, Musiliu Smith 1999–2002, Mustafa Adebayo Balogun 2002–2005,  Sunday  Ehindero 2005–2007, Mike Mbama Okiro 2007–2009, Ogbonna Okechukwu Onovo 2009-2010, Hafiz Ringim 2010 – Jan 2012, Mohammed D Abubakar 2012 – 2014, Suleiman Abba 2014 – 2015, till now, the Nigerian Police have remained a brutal force and still visiting gruesome terror on the people.

Not too long ago, a middle Police officer confirm to me what I already known about the inadequacies in the service and the transfer of aggression that runs current in their blood. The Nigeria Police Force still content itself with their officers parading the streets and highway with guns without uniform in 21st Century like armed robbers! These officers easily find their way to highway and mount road blocks against the instructions not to as a survival strategy since salaries are in arrears of several month

For instance, why should Police officers who supervised the 2015 general elections ask to pay N2,000 (two thousand Naira) for a worthless tag they used in supervising election? It is the duty of Police to print and pay for election tags? If this is not corruption I wonder what else it is. Mr Arase needs to also seek a way of resolving the Nigeria Police Pension Fund in the larger interests of the force.

I am tempted to belief that the new Inspector-General, Mr Solomon Arase may try to be his own man given his education and wealth of experience. Until his appointment as Mr. Abba's replacement, Mr. Arase was the Head of the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department. The new IGP holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Law, as well as Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Political Science and Strategic Studies. For now, we can only but wish him a successful tenure.

Written by Erasmus Ikhide.

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