Tuesday, 20 August 2013
THE POLICE OF OUR DREAM
"The police of our dream is one devoid of the extortion of commercial vehicles. The police that give us confidence to sleep with both eyes closed. A police force that will answer emergency calls within a split second is our dream. A formidable system that will be able to outrun and outgun society miscreants."
The greatest urge to change nationality was utmost in my mind and minds of most Nigerians on April 19, 2013. Wonder why? Ask Boston Police officers! The panache, professionalism, undying spirit, unity and zeal engaged in fishing perpetrators of Boston Marathon Bombings.
When zeal meets action, results are inevitable. The result was achieved. The culprit apprehended within 72 hours! Could this be true? So why don’t we have bandits apprehended quickly. What we get are same lines of consolation each time a crime is committed spiced with curses! With a population size of over 160 million people and land size of 923,768 square km Nigeria definitely needs security of top notch quality. Security issues need not be treated with kid’s glove. The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) was founded in 1930. Eighty-three years on and the police are yet to gain the confidence of Nigerians.
According to the Human Rights Watch report on the Police Force, citizens have a bad impression of their perceived brutality and corruption. Yes brutality the 1999 Odi Massacre in Bayelsa that cleared the whole community, the killing of 200 people in Benue in 2001. What of the killing of 130 people in the 2008 sectarian violence in Jos. What of corruption? Yes corruption! A security apparatus allegedly corrupt cannot successfully secure a nation.
Is this the police of our dream? A nation that loses confidence in its security has resigned to fate. The police of our dream is one devoid of the extortion of commercial vehicles. The police that give us confidence to sleep with both eyes closed. A police force that will answer emergency calls within a split second is our dream. A formidable system that will be able to outrun and outgun society miscreants.
What stops us from making friends with the police? After all the slogan is: the police is your friend. The friendship we crave for is one built on integrity, trust and sincerity. I could give a helping hand to investigations without being roped in as a prime suspect. I could walk freely on the streets without being harassed as a ‘roger’. These are not empty dreams.
Are police officers properly trained to combat crime, handle sophisticated weapons, and investigate crime reports? Not until January when Channels Television revealed the problems in training colleges, but must we wait for exposure on national television for a transformation? Must we subject prospective police officers to untold hardship for 13 months in training colleges? How do we expect them to behave when they get out?
For a Nigerian to have confidence in the police conscious efforts must be made to positively transform this indispensable entity.