While announcing the good news about President Buhari’s recent approval of a new salary scheme for the Police last week, Garba Shehu, one of the president’s media assistants disclosed that Mr. President hopes that their newly enhanced emolument, the “Buhari Award”, would inspire members of the force to return to their primary duty of maintaining law and order.

He further indicated that the failure of the Police Force to adequately perform its Constitutional roles has forced the Army to be actively engaged in purely civil assignments at the expense of its expected performances in serious combat situations such as those presented by the Boko Haram insurgency, the incipient IPOB rebellion, the herdsmen invasion, the widespread inter-ethnic feuds, lingering unrests in the Niger Delta, rampant kidnappings and incessant armed robberies, etc., that are cumulatively threatening the sovereign and territorial integrity of the Republic.

In Mr. President’s assessment, the Police have become a drag on the Army’s ability to safeguard the territorial integrity of Nigeria. While that observation with respect to the operational incompetence of the Police is true, it is however not the complete story. The Police’s institutional image has long been tarnished and gravely undermined, ostensibly stemming from its colonial era heritage, having previously served the colonialists as a brutal tool for the oppression of the occupied local populations. Sadly, its reputation is at its nadir today.

Given the size, complexities and population of Nigeria, Police is currently suffering from acute shortages of both men and materials but its greatest drawback is essentially psychological – exemplified by a grossly bruised professional ego. The institutional psyche of the Force has been so battered that most of its traditional sense of duty and institutional prestige have departed the consciousness of the average officer. Apart from the few who are lucky to be serving as orderlies and bodyguards, more or less as houseboys, to politicians and wealthy members of the society, the rest generally see themselves as a specially denigrated class of people while they in turn openly express their frustrations in many unprofessional ways such as indiscriminately demanding and collecting bribes from whoever comes their way; extorting and harassing road-users and many sundry acts of unprofessional delict.

That was not always the case. The situation of the force gradually degenerated from bad to worse over the years and the descent was accelerated further by a military class that often see them as unequal competitors, if not enemies. The problems escalated in earnest during the heydays of incessant coups d’état and counter-coups. Successive military juntas, afraid that the Police could be a counter-force to their hideous criminality of coups planning and execution, resolved to decimate the Force as brutally as was possible. There is however an unexpected boomerang as soldiers are now being deployed to be keeping civil order across Nigeria even though their proper constitutional role is to defend the country against external aggression all because the Police have been so badly incapacitated.

President Buhari himself would easily recall how after the coup toppled the democratically elected government of President Shehu Shagari in 1983, the coupists, suspecting that the Police had wanted to resist their unconstitutional action, proceeded to humiliate the force’s hierarchy and weakened its operations through massive underfunding and the stark refusal to equip them; the anti-riot and anti-unrests elite mobile unit, alias, MOPOL, was particularly singled out and fiendishly reduced to Boy Scout’s level as their sophisticated operational tools and resources, even uniforms, were degraded. Denied of its professional pride and modern intel tools and communication resources by the military because they were viewed as potential obstacles against their illegitimate incursions into politics, the Police was subsequently reduced to a level where its officers and men have to necessarily take care of themselves through any means possible, proper and improper, dignified or not.

Some people saw the unfortunate bourgeoning development then as a mere manifestation of inter-service rivalry or jealousy but the real consequence of it all was the eventual degradation of the capacity of the Police to fulfil its constitutional mandate of safeguarding the society. The situation did not change even after the return of democracy in 1999 because the head of that civilian government was a former soldier, the same group that has, in the past, held the Police in disdain and utter contempt. The already ugly situation was further compounded recently by the government when it retired several layers of the Force’s leadership-ready, better policy- and strategy-informed officer corps just to make it possible to have the present IGP appointed.

That exercise seriously undermined the operational capacity of the Police in many facets of its ongoing nation-wide challenges. With so many competent and seasoned officers wastefully thrown away from service, it has to be expected that there would be serious incidents of command lapses and debilitating lack of tactical direction, at least, in the short run.

There is no doubt that members of the Police Force will be better off with the promised “Buhari Award” but it is not going to solve the deep-rooted negative mentality of the average police officer who unfortunately sees himself as a member of a terribly vilified tribe that has no need to seek for higher levels of professionalism or expect respect from an equally skeptical society. One of the negative legacies of military incursions into politics in Nigeria is the mindless destruction of the Police force. Other key institutions of State also destroyed include, inter alia, Education, Public Service and the Judiciary – all being the palladia of a healthy, functional, progressive and secured society.

Of immediate concern to us today is the plight of the Police, one which has transformed into the unabating security nightmare currently confronting the nation: no police, no orderly peace. There have been several suggestions about how to bring back the glory and operational effectiveness of the force. There are calls for the immediate introduction of State Police within the context of community policing. So far, those who ought to know better are playing the Ostrich with the State Police Question. My considered take on it has always been that those clamouring for “restructure” as a slogan of convenience but refuse to support the calls for State Police are either ignorant or mischievous or both because “true federalism” implies the ability of the various levels of government to perform their functions, including police functions (arising from within their respective jurisdictions) BUT in a situation where you talk of a Federal Republic without constitutionally designated separate police forces to service the various tiers of government, we should naturally expect anarchy aplenty.

Our leaders would rather waste public funds hiring thugs and engaging private criminal henchmen for their personal protection and for the execution of sundry criminal assignments instead of utilising the officially designated and accountable constabulary whose roles, responsibilities are constitutionally defined and their limits clearly prescribed. Until we’re able to sufficiently re-orientate and properly fund the Police, mentally and materially reshape its operations in ways that are tactically complemented by States and Local Governments Police Services, the overall security status of the federation shall remain precarious and it would really have been nice if President Buhari can also extend his present positive attention to the Police to those other more fundamental obstacles militating against credible and effective policing of the nation.

REVEALED: 3 natural ways to get stronger erections, last 25 minutes on bed, and increase manhood size without using drugs. Also, Natural Prostrate Enlargement Remedy.. Get In HERE...

Send your press release/articles to: editor@thenigerialawyer.com, Click here Subscribe to our BBM Channel: C01142506 Follow us on Twitter at @Nigerialawyers and Facebook at facebook.com/thenigerialawyer For Advert Inquiries Tele/+234 806 819 1709 E-mail: thenigerialawyers@gmail.com
thenigerialawyer.com

Subscribe to Thenigerialawyer News!

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here