#ENDSARS: Controversial Problems In Nigeria Police Force (NPF)
The controversial harsh tag #ENDSARS sends ripples down the spine. Each time the issue of the Nigerian police is mentioned in the social space, it is received with so much ambiguity.
First of all, there are several schools of thoughts to this: the general public, the government cum politicians, the police themselves.
Most times when driving on Nigeria roads, common faces one comes across are the Nigeria Law Enforcement Agents, most especially the Nigeria Police.
Successive governments have attempted in time past to reform this agency but the results thereafter seem to be abysmally low (personal opinion).
It is a nightmare falling into the hands of these agencies while plying popular routes in Nigeria, even if your papers (particulars) are all intact, you might have to part with cash or else your trip will be delayed if not cut short.
The harassment and embarrassment one encounters is uncalled for, most especially when you are told “the police are your friends”.
How about on crime fighting, when there is an ongoing crime in your neighbourhood, one puts a call through to your “friendly policemen” and one begins to hear all manner of excuses, such as “no fuel in their patrol vehicle”, “few policemen on ground”, “going to make formal complaints”, etc. Even if they have accepted to come, they will ask “which location they should approach from?”, “are they armed?”, etc all these questions are expected to be answered while the robbery is going. Thereafter, they arrive after the robbers are long gone and start arresting innocent people, detain them and commence an investigation. If one is not careful, you the caller is arrested and detained in the cell.
How about physically reporting a dispute in the police station, one has to prepare him/herself financially to be able to get the issue resolved; these and many more are the public perceptions.
The government cum politicians see the police as an effective tool in achieving a specific agenda either to impose an ideology or denying an opponent a chance to challenge a lawful course or to oppress the masses.
We have seen these manifestations in various dimensions during electioneering processes in Nigeria, political rallies, social events, etc. One can also observe the disparity in the way the police treats individuals if one drives a flashy car he is accorded a “VIP” treatment and the others are properly scrutinized.
The Police themselves have consistently defended a lot of their activities on the media; they tell us how they discharge their duties according to the professional best practices. Most times when one listens to the police image maker, one will be convinced that the Nigerian Police are the best in the world, but one wonders if these senior police officers actually go down to the grassroots to have a feel of what the masses are experiencing.
We all agree that the Nigeria Police is grossly underfunded, and their capacities to deliver quality are inhibited by several factors such as funding, fewer field officers, logistics, etc.
In Nigeria, the ratio of police-to-citizen is approximately 1:300, this is grossly insufficient for effective policing as prescribed by the United Nations Commissions.
Recently, #ENDSARS didn’t come as a surprise, and the response from the police image maker is not also surprising, but the focus should be on improving the living standard of the police by providing proper funding, providing conducive working environments, provision of sophisticated work tools to minimize excessive risk faced during the discharge of their duties.
Rather than ending SARS as popularly demanded, improvement should be made and more professional approach should be undertaken in the discharge of their duties, more personnel should be employed and trained, so we can have a safer and secured Nigeria.