Policing Nigeria: The challenges

GENERALLY speaking, it is beyond doubt that the security situation in Nigeria today is still worrisome. People are still cautious about moving freely within the country, even in broad daylight. The scale of kidnapping, robbery attacks, ritual killings, murder and other devious crimes, appear to continue on the upward trajectory. This is clearly a sign of the times. The security agencies are not fairing better in the blame game.

What, with the seemingly endless and mindless mass murder and cold-blooded assassinations in many parts of the country. The situation was made more worrisome with the advent of Boko Haram terrorists who have succeeded in wiping out thousands of lives and destroying properties in the Northern parts of the country. This hydra-headed killer-group has also succeeded in annexing many towns and villages in the North Eastern part of the country and decimating families with daring and defiant extremity.

Though the security agencies appear to have risen to the occasion like the latter day Nigerian Army, by deploying their best efforts to tackle incidents of crime, much remains to be seen in their operational and attitudinal posture towards achieving the best. This is because they have constantly and unabashedly continued to cave in to human frailties in their operational thrust or the synergy between them.
Clearly, what is urgently needed is such a fundamental reformation and recharge that will call to the fore, primordial values, those heroic human qualities that will help them actualize the vision and mission of their respective security organisations.

The Police Force

Sincerely speaking, the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, is indeed, in dire need of fundamental reforms and recharge targeted at vision actualization and rapid results in its mission/goals achievement drive. The bad press and not so-rosy public reputation, is actually borne out of the ever increasing ugly experiences by Nigerians with its men, in far and near places. There is, therefore, a crying need for the cream of its leadership to go back to the drawing board. Given the calibre of men presently in the higher cadre of the force, there is doubt that they will get it right.

However, what is wrong with the police in Nigeria appears to be the absence of cohesive co-ordination. This, glaringly, translates to improper human capital management at the mid and lower levels. The average operative seems to be working for himself or his unit, team or station head. This incorrect role interpretation, leads to distortions in the discharge of functions, thereby obscuring the good works of a noble few. Constant in-house trainings should be geared towards re-orientating men and women of the force with the original vision and mission they are called to help actualize. A comprehensive reward/ punishment system should also be injected, with the same elephant energy required to carry it through to its goal.

From the hue and cry by the public about attention to even serious complaints being heavily monetized, it is obvious the salaries and allowances of officers and men of the force need to be urgently reviewed in line with current realities. Gadgets and equipment in line with modern advances in science and technology need to be provided to enable them meet the challenges of the present day and time. Most importantly, their housing needs and general welfare packages must be looked into with the urgent it richly deserves in tune with what is obtainable in other climes where, surprisingly, the same set of policemen throng on foreign missions and excelled. But at home, they are roundly denigrated.

Training of members

The veritable way out of the doldrums include; re-training of members of the force by human development specialists on a constant basis, installation of a crack system of checks and balances, reward/punishment scheme, salary review, risk allowances in deserving cases and provision of modern equipment and gadgets. The Federal government should implement a salary/allowances review in line with current realities and pursue a path of equipping the force as a modern police force with an identified model in view.

It is my belief that correct adherence to scientific and modern ways of administration will yield overwhelming positive results. There is, in fact, no alternative to a good police force in the upward striving to achieve a decent society with quaint norms and values.

On the part of Nigerians, we should all realise that everybody has a role to play in effective policing. We should all endeavour to provide information and other useful forms of responsible support for meaningful efforts based on credible reports. This will certainly be the bedrock for the much touted community policing to thrive. The onus of this responsibility rests with members of the public.

Conclusively, it is apparent that not much can be achieved without a proper synergy between the security agencies. The Customs, Immigration, Armed Forces, Civil Defence, NDLEA and of course, DSS need, as a matter of prime importance, to work in concert with the police. This is imperative if we are to register significantly, milestones in the fight to stem the tide of horrific crimes in the country. The task of developing the templates to work this out seamlessly rests squarely with the headships of these security organisations. There in lies the better understanding and appreciation of the pivotal roles the police should play in the lives of Nigerians.