Clean Up The Police Is A Must
One is not a Nigerian until one embraces a horrible encounter with the Nigerian Police Force. The Nigerian Police appears to be littered with bad eggs and the Government appears unable to clean up the Aegean Stables. This is not
a subjective assessment for in a joint survey centred on corruption in Nigeria conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics and United Nations, The Nigerian Police emerged as numerous; The most corrupt institution in the land laced with unfettered impunity.
Even the Auditor General of the Federation in his recent publication has listed a litany of infractions by the police, ranging from looting of evidence lockers to the disappearance of guns and ammunition from armories, one wonders if the Nigerian Police is indeed a crime fighting organization.
Undauntedly and unarguably the level of crime in the land has risen as kidnappings, armed robbery and assassinations are now a daily occurrence. But instead of the benevolence of the Police Force rising to meet this challenge, the Nigerian police is becoming more demented and evil.
From mounting illegal checkpoints and raping young girls coming back from Night vigil to forcing innocent party goers to illegally withdraw money from their ATMs lest they elevate their crime of jay walking to armed robbery, the Nigerian Police hardly brings endearment to the hearts of Nigerians.
Even the unfriendly toothed Inspector Musa who used to sing “the Police is your friend” sing-song has lost its shine under the current circumstances. Few see the police as their friend anymore except the political office holder who banks on their steel to keep kidnappers at bay.
This regime has only allowed this problem to fester as the cold war between Senator Misau and the Police attains new heights.
The Ex Police Officer and a serving Senator at the National Assembly, Senator Isah Misau fired the first ballistic missile when he made eye popping allegations against the Nigerian police. Senator Misau’s words carry the cold venom of truth for being a former Senior Police Officer he has a bird’s eye view of what goes on behind the scenes. His range of allegations make for grim reading as a mafia cartel of graft appears to be the bane of the Nigerian Police.
Firstly, his allegations say State Police Commands make as much as 5 Million daily from illegal corrupt practices. Money that is shared judiciously amongst the top brass.
Furthermore he alleges that senior officers can pay bribes as much as 10 Million just to get posted to money spinning lucrative commands. Hence one wonders if the Nigerian Police is any better than the criminals it seeks to arrest.
The chequered past of such Police czars like Tafa Balogun, the ex-convict and Ehindiero the Serial looter shows the Police has a history laced in corruption and crime. Even the slaying of the APO 6 adds to the narrative that Police reform is a must.
But alas a regime that pays lip service to corruption and lacks the balls to challenge the most corrupt institution in the land; appears to be lacking solutions to this perennial problem. The solutions are legion but each has its advantages and disadvantages.
The Police Force can be disbanded immediately and a new Defence Force modelled after the Israeli Defence Force constituted. Young Nigerians
unspoiled and uncorrupted should be charged to join the police. Aged between 18 years and 25 years, these youths should be offered a University education alongside acquiring policing skills. Regular integrity tests should be conducted on them and those who fail should be weeded out. Banks have for decades utilized the integrity test to try their staff and this modality is totally alien to the police but alas when the top brass are alleged to be as rotten as a rotten egg,
they lack the temerity to conduct such tests. Hence this should be outsourced to independent contractors and not the EFCC. The EFCC is laced with many serving or past police officers to boast its ranks hence are likely to be biased. Only independent contractors equipped with surveillance devices can police the police. Wholesale retirements and dismissals maybe required to return sanity to the Police Force. Certain notorious units require closer scrutiny.
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad and the Anti-Kidnappings Units appear to have attained the status of demigods in the manner they conduct their business. One needs to pray hard to avoid being an innocent fly caught in their web.
The Government needs to clean up the police force. Many a police station or barracks in the land is filthy and is no different from a pig sty.
How does a nation expect the best out of the police when they are treated like pigs? Ramshackle dilapidated accommodations is the bane of the Police Force. Poor enumeration and benefits push many to graft. The lack of modern policing tools and training has made the Nigerian Police a brutal corrupt entity. One doubt's if the Police has a fingerprint data base talk less of a DNA crime bank. Access to modern forensic tools has been denied the police by a regime who is more concerned with their own personal protection over revamping the Force. The Nigerian Police Force is not beyond redemption however there is no political will to steady the apple cart. I recollect a the case of a
close friend who was allegedly gang raped by Policemen years back. She remained emotional scarred and never truly recovered both physically and emotionally from her ordeal and died some years ago from complications of the ordeal. To read in the papers of similar ordeals still going on makes one wonder if the Police Force is destined to be locked in an endless cycle of demonic tendencies. The pain of remembrance on hearing how a young girl was sexually assaulted while bringing food to her detained sister is heart breaking and ignoble. One can only cry for the beloved country where justice and injustice share the same bed.
This regime has an opportunity to lay down a legacy by making police reforms a priority but who will dare upset the apple cart so late in the game when 2018 is just round the corner and politicking for February 2019 General election will begin in earnest. Thus this golden opportunity will pass by for who will want to tinker with the police at such a time when they are an integral part of the electoral equation. Hence the blame for Police Corruption rising to new levels
rest solely on the shoulders of the regime, that promised Nigerians a vigorous Anticorruption war but has left innocent citizens holding the short straw.
Police reforms is a must if Nigeria must move forward. To avoid and postpone taking care of this elephant in the room is a recipe for disaster, stagnation and national destruction. That is the plain truth and nothing but the truth.
Usman Mohammed writes from:
Mass Communication Department,
IBB Varsity, Lapai-Niger State.