LET US PRAY FOR THE NIGERIAN POLICE BY: ALEMU DENNIS
The Nigerian Police is one vital public institution which has a huge responsibility on its shoulders - the daunting task of protecting lives and property in every part of this country. It is such a complex and taxing task that the personnel in this institution deserve the collective prayers and concerted cooperation of the nation to succeed.
While it is true that the Nigerian Police contends with a lot of operational challenges and organizational deficiencies, as it is with virtually everything Nigerian, Nigerians, as it were, hardly offer prayers to God for the protection of police officers who provide them security.
Neither do they pray for the success of this important establishment in its operations. Nigerians from every walk of life and backgrounds would rather wish the police evil, based on their different idiosyncrasies and outlook.
However, why the Nigerian Police needs our prayers is all too self-evident. Police officers are out there in the biting cold and under the scorching heat working round the clock to secure the nation while the rest of us go to sleep. Trite is the saying that as the people need the police to have a good sleep, so too do the police need the people's support to provide them their good sleep.
They are there in the rain, in the sun - in fact, under all kinds of weather and situations to ensure our security.
At the individual level, police officers are Nigerians - they need love, care and attention like everyone else needs. They have wives, husbands, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, friends and so on. Police officers are breadwinners and home-builders; they remain a source of joy, hope and inspiration to their families and deserve to be given favourable consideration in many a case.
When they get killed by criminals, the security of the nation suffers. The fact that they are often targeted by criminals makes it quite imperative that we pray for the safety of policemen on their various security beats. Police officers in Nigeria are among the primary targets of Boko Haram bombers, armed robbers, smugglers, cultists, ritualists, gun-runners and other evil men and women of the fast-growing underworld community.
Another reason we should seek divine intervention for the police is to make them more responsible in their duties and through this, they can serve us better. Prayers change things, situations and people. The Nigerian police of our dream is just within our reach if we start a nationwide intercession for its transformation.
In today's Nigeria, it goes without saying that the police have a bad image. One is convinced that if the Nigerian Police has a bad reputation today, it should be seen as an institutional mirror reflecting the general image problem of the Nigerian nation, after all, policemen are recruited out of the Nigerian populace. They are not a legion of foreigners imported from elsewhere to police our country. The point to butress here is that they are Nigerians. In this regard, the prayer intercession should among other things focus on potential recruits and cadets.
The focal prayer point here is: That in future, criminal-minded persons, dubious characters and individuals with fat criminal records at Panti and Ajeromi Police Stations, Ipaja and elsewhere should not be enlisted into the force to corrupt it. In fact, a divine intervention is imperative to arrest the few bad eggs that have already infiltrated the force, so that they can repent of their anti-godly ways and police Nigeria with the fear of God and more sense of responsibility.
Prayers are needed from all Nigerians to overcome the recurring incidents of accidental discharge by police officers, which in most cases, result in fatalities. Accidental discharge occurs when a gun goes off without an officer intending to shoot and it is a major cause of deaths in Nigeria, involving the police.
Nigerians need pray for the police against extra-judicial killings to make their nation safer. This will also make the police win public confidence as it will assure all Nigerians that the force is in fact their friend on whom rests the constitutional obligation to protect lives and property.
The Nigerian Police needs the prayers of all well-meaning, law-abiding citizens for God to give them an uncanny wisdom to raise their level of intelligence gathering to bust organized crime. They also need wisdom from God to unravel complicated issues, such as the Gordian knot of unresolved high-profile political assassinations that leave the force disorientated and rattled.
Nigerians have to offer special prayers to God for Him to give the police the gift of discernment to track and over-power armed robbery cells and gangs, terrorists like Boko Haram bombers, serial killers, as well as those kidnap kingpins, illegal drugs and arms traffickers whose nefarious activities are giving the nation's authorities sleepless nights. Prayers for the police to have the courage and disposition to be above board in fighting crimes committed by politically exposed persons are indeed perforce.
Since prayer is a key to achieving our aims, praying for the police will help them change their attitude towards suspects under their custody and make them more personable. Prayers can also assist them develop a more friendly disposition towards their various publics. When the police undergo such holistic metamorphosis on the basis of our supplications, the nation will be much better for it, as police brutality/impunity will become a past tense in our policing lexicon. It is only through our prayers the force will treat informants with decorum and not deal with them with all amount of suspicion and distrust, as is often the case at present.
The Nigerian Police needs our prayers to become a world-class security institution which every citizen of this country can be proud of and earn the respect of the international community. It is only our prayers which can help the police to refrain from mounting illegal roadblocks to extort muffled
N50 notes from motorists on the highways. Our prayers for the police can go a long to remedy the fixated decay and corruption in the force, thereby, changing the habit of senior officers diverting operational logistics to personal use at the expense of the force's operational capability and the welfare of the rank and file.
Instead of endlessly condemning, castigating, villifying, lambasting, raining abuses, heaping blames and swearing against the police, we should encourage them to embrace change and make themselves a true friend of the public. A responsible police force is the best of friends anywhere in the world and if we should deserve the best of policing, then we must also change our attitude towards the police and treat them with more respect, accommodation and give them the needed support and cooperation. Beyond this, adequate funding of the police should be seen as a basic prerequisite in building a virile force in the nation's security architecture.
Suffice to say that the Federal Government should accord more priority to the welfare of police officers. In the meantime, government should declare a week of national prayer and fasting for the Nigerian Police. This will set the ball rolling for the total transformation of the force.