NIGERIAN POLICE NEEDS URGENT REFORMATION

“Teamwork without coordination brings confusion” — Zambian Proverb

Among security agencies in Nigeria, the Police is an important security outfit, which is mainly responsible for the protection of lives and properties, among other sole responsibilities bethroed on them. In the real sense of it, the Police don’t live up to expectation especially during past administrations and by those who led the security outfit, and during this trying times there was a lot of outrage by Nigerians on the low performance of the Police agencies especially when their assistance are being needed by the citizens during one crisis or another. Though, these inefficiencies has been minimized during this dispensation, but that doesn’t mean that their are not still “wolves in sheep clothing” among them, which gives the Police bad appellations; as some of these “wolves” have had their feet burnt.

And as a result, many doesn’t believe or rely on the full performance of the Police in our society; in which made people to develop their own form of self-defense and means of protecting themselves, if any form of incident falls on them. Many are the cases of kidnapping, herdsmen attacks, armed robbery attacks, which has been happening in some parts of the country, and reactions of the security agency (Police) to these attacks seems unfavorable at all cost. Take for instance, a recent attack by herdsmen on Oke Ako in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State which left two dead and several injured, had the people informing the Police but they were slow in their reaction to avert the attack, until the soldiers came to their rescue. Reports had it that, the Policemen in that area had demanded for N12, 000 to fill their vehicle with petrol because their was no fuel in it. Isn’t that shameful, if such report is true?

What can be said to be reason behind such fallible attitude by some of the Policemen in our society? Even despite all efforts to curtail all forms of “bribery and corruption” within the Police, it still remain at its peak, as people keep reporting on how they are being extorted by these Policemen especially on the expressway, didn’t they know it reduces respect the people had for them? I was opportuned to experience some of these their evil acts few weeks ago, though have experienced many of such before. I was traveling to Akure and it was along the Abeokuta-Ibadan expressway way, when a Policeman stopped our vehicle with the thought that he wanted to verify necessary information from the driver not until I heard the driver telling him, he doesn’t have anything on him now but when he is coming back, he will “see” him. These sort of incidents occurred daily on our major expressways, and the Police are found to be major culprits been involved in these “exchange of hands” with transporters.

The question comes in, why don’t Military men involve themselves in such shameful acts? Could it be as a result of the training they went through, or the intention to protect their integrity? No matter what the reason might be, can’t our Police force also take a cue from their counterpart, so as to promote and make people respect the security agencies in our country. Although, am not saying the Military doesn’t have their own excesses, as they are also found wanting in human brutality.

However, as earlier pointed out that activities of the police this present time is worthy of applause, especially as they swing into action whenever their are cases that need their attention with all urgency or could it be because such victims are of notable backgrounds and the cases generated a lot of media hype that brought the immediacy? As their are kidnap victims held for weeks, months without immediate action of the police taking steps into it.

Let’s take a look at these cases; there is a case of the abduction of mother of former minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who got her freedom five days later due to massive police heat. Although it was rumoured that some ransoms were paid, but the fact remains that the senior Okonjo was released in a short time. Even former Secretary to the federal government of Nigeria and former presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Olu Falae, got released in good time, after he was abducted early this year. Also, the former Minister of State for Education, Senator Iyabode Anisulowo, got her freedom in earnest after she was abducted in her farm in Odogbolu, Ogun State.

These were unlike cases of Progress Jacob, Blessing Gopep, Linda Christopher, Lucy Ejeh, among others who have been living in their abductors’ den for months, even despite efforts by their parents and other agencies to secure their release, also, Frank Umeh and Cosmas Anayo Ojukwu Anayo, who have been abducted since January this year and yet to secure their freedom.

Indeed, their is need for reformation in the Nigerian police as to make them live up to expectations, many are cases of assassination that has enveloped the country in past years but the result of its investigation hasn’t gotten tangible result, but had them swept under the carpet, as those involved in such evil doings maybe “people of high calibre” in the country. Couldn’t the police do their investigation like a private entity, even though its a federal agency? And those found culpable must be made to face full wrath of the law. There is need for our Police to get more training on how things are done.

However, am still of the belief that our Police institution will still be better and reformed if it can keep having hardworking, serious, Godfearing and committed leaders in the system.

God bless the Nigerian Police.

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