The EndSARS fever seem to have caught the police authority by surprise and this has been further confirmed by the responses emanating from the twitter handle of the NIgerian Police Force, @PoliceNG.
The conduct of the men of the Nigeria police has on the average been on the low going bythe mannerisms and how they go about their respective duties. While it would be very untrue to suggest all policemen are this bad, I think it is to a very large extent correct to posit that the stench of the rotten eggs within the force at all times over powers the fragrance of the fine few.
The SARS, a unit that should equate to advanced elite force put together to combat major crimes around the country, hashelped project the force as the number one enemy of the Nigerian people.
Different reports from across the country and some captured on video has not helped the case of the SARS in any imaginable way. Numerous people especially youths have been killed, girls, sexually harrased or raped in some cases, molested and ruthlessly extorted and demoralised. All of these are what you should expect from a common criminal. To suffer these in the hands of uniformed men paid from your own taxes to protect you would be the worst of nightmare. It has become a common submission for people to thank God for getting off the SARS hook alive as extra judicial killings had become the unit’s trademark.
Do NIgerians then have the right to call for the outright proscription of this unit? YES and then what?
That brings me to what I think should be done as a Nigerian and also someone who has suffered in the hands of these crop of despicable police officers.
The Nigeria Police force, like many public outfits who carry out essential services, is long overdue for a surgical precision reform. Such reform should not only ensure officers get the best trainings to help them discharge their duties with the much anticipated professionalism, it should also ensure they are well equipped and taken care of.
While we can go on and on talking about the gross unprofessionalism on the sides of police officers, it is important to know they are product of a system that is so deficient in churning out anything near good.
The welfare package for officers who have a responsibility to protect lives and properties of the citizenry and then their own family is so poor. There is no system in place to ensure they are psychologically balanced and fit nor is there any provision for their families in the case of death in the line of duty.
I have seen instances of the police authority paying pout paltry sums to the families of dead officers and making it sound like some favour.
I have also seen past police administrative headssteal recklessly from the lot of junior officers, the likes of Tafa Balogun comes to mind.
Much should in fairness be expected from that person to whom you have given much. The story of the men and women of the Nigeria police is far from this.
How and why do people become police officers? Well, from my interaction, it is another form of employment with it’s own risk and unclear responsibilities. People are recruited based on a politicians handwritten note and careless nomination. No background check, nothing.
When they finally get recruited, the are commissioned with little or know training and harmed with one of the deadliest weapon to parade the cities. Worse of is the mandate of returns by the various DPOs and state Commissioners of police.
all of these intertwined chain of corrupt officers with out of the world expectations leave junior officers with no other options but become rogues and bandits.
We surely can’t run a sane country without the police but we also can not afford to run away from armed robbers the same way we have to run away from the police that is meant to protect us.
I know there are good officers. I know this because my late father is one and I know there are many more like him who are conscious of the fact that life beyond the force and nemesis are not things you toil with.
You should never expect to raise Godfearing and decent kids with blood money.
The demand should therefore be outlined as follows;
- Immediate disbandment of the SARS
- Total reform of the Nigeria Police to include but not limited to:
Basic requirements to enlist
- Transparent and open trial of erring officers
- Standard and uniform dress code for all officers
These can be the start of the reform process and then more specific things are built on it.
What we right now will not work and trying to patch the obviously rotten system will do us no good. We will be back to anotherEnd-Something harshtag in no distant time.
For what it’s worth, disbanding SARS should not be negotiated at all.
God bless Nigeria.
N:B: It is such a shame that the Presidency and the leadership of the Senate have refused to openly commented on this very important issue bothering on the security of lives and property. Your continuous display of your detachment from the true struggles of the Nigerian people puts a huge question mark behind all of your promises of change.