The Nigeria Police, like the defunct Nigerian Airways, share a symbol-the elephant. A flying elephant? That’s unheard of in world mythology.
Elephants don’t fly. But never mind; that’s the symbol of the long dead, Airways.
The Nigeria Police, though historically older, has for some reason refused to die despite a protracted illness.
A sizeable amount of literature has been written on the Police organization, from that landmark work by Tekena Tamuno, (A history of Nigeria Police) ,to a relatively new one by Dr Mike Chukwuma, clamouring for reform.
Chukwumah, unlike Tamuno, was a cop who’s seen so much from the organization’s rotten inside.
Like it or not, it is time for Nigeria Police to be reinvented in the light of present realities.
First, how can Nigeria of 200 million people have a constabulary of only 350,000 people?
As though that number is not small enough, the Nigeria Police men and women are still in barracks in this day and age. Even in the barracks, police men chain their generators to boulders to stop impetuous petty thieves.
Effective policing has gone beyond starched uniforms and stinking barracks to serious data /record keeping, state of the art forensics and ballistics to swift response in crime, emergency and disaster management. Artificial Intelligence is deployed in Police service delivery.
There is also a need for decentralization and the institution of other local ‘Police’ groups. This is an idea whose time has come.
My trip to Ghana in 1995 opened my eyes ever since. I looked out for Ghanaian Police men and women in uniform but found none.
About over-centralization, the point was made by former Police Service Commission Chairman for some autonomy of service, according to the six geographical zones.
The man reasoned that sharing the budget into six, would equip the officers and ready them to spring into action within a short time.
Detractors immediately took him to task to know why he did not suggest that idea while he was in office. Which argument makes no sense at all, much like arguing why the Almighty did not jail Satan upstairs? And if that was done, the gospel of Jesus the Christ, would not be with us today.
Back to the Nigeria Police! How do they get promoted? Which service of theirs is so compelling? For 11 days or so, an underground inferno raged in Enugu campus of Caritas University with nobody able to put out the fire out. Please don’t say unceasing fire is no business of the flying elephant.
In many states of the Niger Delta, illegal oil refiners jeopardize human, animal and plant life with the help of law enforcement. This is no playing to the gallery …How well equipped are our Police? Do they have good insurance and other turn-key incentives?
Have we taken the pains to address the most basic of their needs to enable them serve professionally?
Or are we like the reckless drunken dad out to send his son to embark on a lion hunt without the necessities?
These are a just a tip of the iceberg concerning issues on policing in Nigeria.
With a threadbare and beggarly Police force, citizens turn to voodoo priests and pastors for help.
Law enforcers are themselves, not exempted in the search for spiritual cover in a society where things have fallen apart.
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