Success tips for police reforms in Nigeria
By Emmanuel Udom
Nigeria Inspector-general of police, Muhammed Abubakar, is a man with a humanitarian heart. He has the duty of crushing the Boko Haram menace in the country and eventually works towards laundering the image of the Nigeria Police Force, which has been battered over the years, through the corrupt activities of some police officers.
I am not a soothsayer, but a journalist, who is contributing my humble quota through the pen profession towards serving God and humanity. But, I know deep down that if the police chief in Nigeria is encouraged and supported, he will perform miracles.
Let me say here and now that it is not my business to sing the praises of Muhammed. It is uncalled for, since I am not on the pay list of the Nigeria Police force. But, as journalist, who has reported crime for more than a decade, I know from available track records that IGP Muhammed means well for Nigeria.
So, as the police are presently thinking about reforms in order to re-position the force for optimum performances, it is my business to suggest some tips that should be looked into. Yes, Nigeria is regarded as the giant of Africa. It is my beloved country in whom I am well pleased.
However, it is unreasonable to think that it is only the police that are corrupt in Nigeria. The truth, as far as I know is that the entire system should be overhauled. Now for the tips:
In the police force in Nigeria, sex is one of the unwritten criteria for promotion and recommendations. It is really not limited to the police alone, as virtually all government agencies seem to be involved in this sex-for-favour syndrome. You do not have to agree with what I have said here. Simply put your ears on the ground, go on an undercover mission to some police formations anywhere in Nigeria to see and hear things for yourself. The police chief has a duty of ensuring that promotion and recommendation is base on merit. This does not run across as I know quite a number of police officers, who do not sleep with each other for whatever reason.
A poorly paid police officer, especially in Nigeria and anywhere in the world cannot perform miracles. It is the duty of the police reforms committee to see to it that police officers in Nigeria are not paid slave wages, even as they are expected to tackle criminalities in the county. It is one thing to promise an officer jumbo pay packet, it is another to pay on time. I shuttle police offices everyday as a crime reporter and I know that as at the time of writing this report, most officers have not been paid their salaries for March 2012. A hungry, angry and frustrated police officer in Nigeria cannot perform wonders.
In academic setting, PHD is the highest educational certificate or attainment. In police circle, it means pull him or her down. No officer can work together in peace and harmony if there is always this suspicion that the next officer wants his or her down fall. It may be traced to the fact that the word cabal exists even in the police. This is where deployments to the so-called juicy positions, whatever that means, are made not based on merit, but on man-know-man or loyalty bases. I know the IGP has the capacity to sort out this.
A drunken, ill- motivated and ill- empowered police officer is a disaster waiting to explode. Yes, it takes two to tango. Before a police officer is forced to pull his trigger, we should also ask ourselves, was the officer provoked by a civilian? It is in trying to find answers to this question that the police reforms guys will look for a more peaceful way out.
In Nigeria, the police been the most visible security agency is always accuse of collecting N20 bribe from people. As far I am concerned, other security agencies in Nigeria are not angels as far as this issue is concerned. Visit the nearest airport or seaport and you will get the gist. It is one thing to set up X-SQARD to monitor the police, it is yet another to empower the police financially and logistically to perform their duties. I am very sure Muhammed knows what I am talking about.