…to The Nigerian Inspector General: Shame Catch Me
“Police business is a hell of a problem. It’s a good deal like politics. It asks for the highest type of men, and there’s nothing in it to attract the highest type of men. So we have to work with what we get…” ― Raymond Chandler, The Lady in the Lake
Dear Solomon Arase,
I write you this letter with the highest of compliments that your office deserves. How is your family, and work, how is the downs, as you and I know, (there are invariably few ups in your office), how are you coping with providing protection and security to over 150 million difficult Nigerians…how have you continued to commandeer a poorly motivated Police infested with crooks and miscreants that have been made holy by the black uniform that they wear?
Before I go far in this letter I crave your indulgence to leave the sidekicks of this letter and look at the main issues and deal with the substance of this letter which is on behalf of millions of Nigerians that have suffered and are still suffering due to the inefficiency of the Police which you head.
Sadly, in a nation where rumor is easier to confirm than facts, I gather that your days are numbered either due to retirement or political exigencies. Howeve I would still pen these few lines, par chance miracles albeit miracles still happen.
The last time I wrote a letter to the office you occupy, Sunday Ehindero was the man in charge, before then, I had envied the mobile police who also occupied the office and ended up in EFCC if you get the drift.
My dear Solomon, let me first quickly say, you have made quite an effort since you assumed the office, but again in that face of systemic rot, your efforts pale into insignificance.
These are the basics that we all know; You run a force with no forensic, one can really ask, what does the force CID do for crying out loud. No crime scene personnel, most crimes in Nigeria are still solved via market place gossip while your men develop clues based on instincts backed by orders from above.
Let me for example give a case of the herdsmen and pastoralist clashes, what have your men contributed? Like everything leadership, you all plus your boss Baba take Nigerians for some zombies…like rank and men who buy uniforms in regular market. Like rank who once arrested a DIG of their zone–they did not know the man. You head men that do not know the national anthem, men who do not know what to look for in motor car inquisition.
It is sad my Oga that despite all the billions spent by the Federal government and the small, small roger that is contributed by State governors so as to have the security apparatus effectively in their hands to manipulate, no one sees, not even you sir, can put a finger to success stories.
Sir, my apologies, with idiotic efficiency, we have seen how the police handle low-profiles, we have seen the energy the force dissipates in arresting goats, or handling cases of prostitutes. We have witnessed how your men deal with civil cases of “the-man-dey-owe-me”, we are witnesses of how trigger-happy insane roger-men have sent many to their graves early.
…To your men, how much is our life, the ordinary Nigerians whose taxes keep them in job worth?
Need I remind you that few years ago, it was your men that slaughtered those ram sellers, and the fresh incident where a vehicle that was involved in an accident and people were being helped but alas men of the mobile arm of the police arrived and in a commando like fashion bamboozled everyone by the time the left some GSM handsets were missing, foolishly for the Officer that benefited two days latter, we called the number and your guess sir, he picked and answered “this is Inspector…. can I help you”, I answered “Yes, this line…” and the line went off and that was how far it went.
My dearest Solomon as your darling wife would call you, I like your name sir, it strikes a cord, Oh! Now I remember, Solomon of the biblical wisdom era…Your men are a shame and do not depict the wisdom you supposedly ooze.
And this is the crux, that your men would arrest a dumb and deaf dude, in the name of him being a black market dealer, rip him of 19k and even the Tom-tom sweet in his pocket, in the dead of the night and leave the young lad almost insane as he sought to know his crime.
What else is shameful than your men that seize petroleum products from one end of town, take to the other end to sell.
What else is shameful, the other day at a friends place we were privileged to have the presence of a top brass and he was advising us on the high crime rate, he said the best thing was to co-operate with the robbers anytime one was apprehended by them and that as a matter of caution, he emphasized “do not go to the Police, you do not know who is who…”
Oga you are an intelligence Officer, as you prepare your handover notes, I dare ask, is there hope, the police today is still in the age of “Stanley has Adam eaten the Apple…No, Eve has not yet come” in this age of computers, the Nigerian Police is not online in an online manner, IBM typewriters which my late grand father used to send my dad important letters are still used, to facilitate the ease with which files can disappear, no criminal database, cases are still recorded on chalkboard.
Everything the police does is riddled with corruption, whether it be recruitment or it’s academy, whether it be tinted screen or gun permit, or explosives permit, the police has battled to keep the surname corruption amongst competition from the customs, and power holding companies.
On a personal note sir, just pretend this is between me and you, the President knowing his temper and his attitude towards corruption, tell me do you think most of your commissioners are worth the rank they wear. Is the Police that of Nigerians or that of a select few. I am sure you will not get the Tafa treatment, I expect that you are clean?
I must not end this my short letter without telling you what you know already; the entire system is bankrupt. I walked past a police barracks and Walahi, my dogs would never forgive me if I had to leave them there for an hour, and these men are expected to take shots for a Nigerian life, it is practically impossible, instead he will rent out that pistol or Dane gun which some of them carry around, at the right price to the BoysIIMen.
There is a lot to be done, Nigeria is no longer safe, period and full stop, and I must say whether you are hurt or not I have edited and re-edited this to sound as humane as possible, but I guess you never have know what it is to loose a father, mother, son or daughter, not forgetting a friend due to an avertable security lapse. Can you carve your name into the sand of Nigeria's history, Solomon, will we remember this reign as one of those filled with wisdom, will Nigerians be proud of you, and your men, just like you are proud of your London schooled son. T. Blauer words is apt, “The longer you practice failure, the harder it becomes to recognize success.” Time will tell!
Written by Prince Charles Dickson.