THE IGP AND NIGERIA POLICE IMAGE
I am one of many Nigerians who do not believe in the slogan 'Police is your friend'. When friendship is defined, the Nigerian Police cannot be said to be our friend. I never imagined that a new Police Force will emerge in Nigeria that can be comparable with that of developed nations and some African countries. When you give information to the police on crime, such confidential information allegedly leaks only for the criminals to come after you.
Be that as it may, but with the recent appointment of Mohammed Abubakar as the Acting Inspector General of Police, changes have taken place, though many are of the opinion that it is always the case when a new man is appointed as police chief but having taken good look at the achievements of Abubakar within the few weeks he assumed office, he has, indeed, shown sign that the police could, indeed, be our friend.
Before now, we were all caged by numerous police roadblocks on the highway. Those worse hit are those of us plying roads leading to the Southeast. It's usually a nightmare traveling to the east as police checkpoints turned travelers into semi prisoners with roadblocks at every pole. Thank God relief came to the disenchanted travellers when recently the new IGP Mohammed Abubakar withdrew his men from Nigerian roads.
This piece won't be complete if I fail to share my experience on 23rd of March 2012 when I travelled by road in company of some friends for a borehole commissioning in Ideator South LGA of Imo State. We changed N20, 000 into N200 Notes to grease the hands of the police on the highway to avoid unnecessary delay but to my greatest surprise a journey that was supposed take 10 hours because of Police road block took us just 5 hours from Lagos to Owerri.
What a relief.
Alhaji Abubakar recently achieved uncommon feat when he warned police guards and escorts attached to very important personalities (VIP) to, henceforth desist from carrying handbags and luggage belonging to their principals in public places or face arrest. He gave the directive to all commissioners of police in the State Commands and other formations to be carried out. The IGP went further to redeem the image of the police by putting in place measures to ensure less visibility of personnel of the Police Mobile Force (PMF) on the streets and other public places, and promised that all those VIP duties would soon be replaced by men of the newly created Special Protection Unit (SPU) headed by Patrick Dukumor, a commissioner of police.
His aim is to reposition the force to confront security challenges especially the Boko Haram sect. The IGP has mapped out strategies to reduce the death toll of police and also tame the sect. Since his appointment, at the Police Headquarters, Barracks and Formations the Acting IGP has restored discipline in the force as the Nigerian Police is beginning to be civil and dedicated to duty. Among his reformation agenda, which include robust motorized patrols of Federal Highways to ensure safety and easy passage of road users. The ban on parading of suspects in all police formations, according to him, that is tantamount to a public trial and not in tandem with the dictates of the rule of law.
He reiterated his commitment to sustain the 'Operation Restore Hope', enthrone discipline within the force, promote healthy sanitary conditions in the respective formations and strive to project good image of the police. So far, the new IGP has removed the fear from the public that armed robbers would soon take over the roads by taking steps to ensure that the highways are safe without restoring road blocks. Therefore, if Mohammed Abubakar is finally confirmed the IGP, within the period he will remain at the helm of affairs at Louis Edet House, the Nigeria Police force would have regained its lost glory. Let's give him a chance; he has proven that the Nigeria Police force can be among the best in the world.
Okafor writes from Lagos