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Nigeria Police Force gets a pasting!

By Donu Kogbara

The Nigeria Police Force, NPF, is the worst in the world, according to World Internal Security and Police Index International, WISPI.

The WISPI report, which focused on the NPF’s ability to cope with internal security challenges, was released by the International Police Science Association, IPSA, and the Institute for Economics and Peace.

A total of 127 countries that aren’t currently embroiled in protracted civil conflicts were assessed on four law enforcement related fronts: capacity processes, legitimacy and outcomes; and we came last in all four categories.

Singapore came first, followed by Finland, and then Denmark. And there were only four non-Western countries in the top 20. The United Arab Emirates, which was ranked at 29th overall, came top in the Middle East and North African zone.

Chai! I’m reeling from the shame! I would expect us to be trailing in the wake of sophisticated developed nations that have more experience and resources. But you’d think that we’d at least be numero uno in our region.

However, despite being the “giant of Africa” (supposedly!), we were outranked by every other African country on the list!

According to the report, the best-performing African countries within this context are Botswana at 47, followed by Rwanda at 50.

Algeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Ghana, South Africa and Mali also made the top 10, in that order.

Meanwhile, the 10 lowest-performing African countries are Madagascar 111th, Zambia 112th, Ethiopia 115th, Sierra Leone 117th, Cameroon 120th, Mozambique 122nd, Uganda 124th, Kenya 125th and Democratic Republic of Congo 126th.

Then Nigeria, languishing at rock bottom. In the gutter, frankly.

“There are,” the report scathingly pointed out, “219 police officers for every 100,000 Nigerians, [which is] well below both the Index median of 300, and the sub-Saharan Africa region average of 268…This limits the capacity of the force to measure up to its law and order mandate.”

But instead of apologetically acknowledging its obvious shortcomings and promising to do better, the NPF has descended into Delusional Mode, firmly rejected the report, accused its authors of mischief/ignorance and arrogantly elevated itself to the pinnacle of African policing!

According to a statement by spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood: “The Nigeria Police Force after a careful study of the report and the news items emanating from it, wishes to state categorically that the report is entirely misleading, a clear misrepresentation of facts and figures and essentially unempirical…” .

Moshood talks about NPF’s alleged triumphs within the United Nations Peace Keeping System…and the fact that it is one of the only two African Delegates representing the entire continent on the executive committee of Interpol…thereby conveniently ignoring the fact that the report made it clear that it was referring to INTERNAL security issues, not to foreign forays.

Moshood then defiantly instructed Nigerians and the international community to “disregard the report as unfounded and misleading.”

I have gone through various news websites to find out how Nigerians are responding to the report and the NPF’s reactions to it; and I’m sure I don’t have to tell Moshood that derision and disgust are widespread.

Nobody seems to have anything positive to say about our boys in blue and black! Tales of police extortion, corruption in general, violence, incompetence and collusion with criminals abound on the internet.

Police officers are supposed to be respected members of society. Police officers should be regarded as the partners and protectors of the law-abiding majority. But they are seen by most Nigerians as partners and protectors of criminals…and as predatory, stupid, useless and dangerous.

Having said this, I’d like to put in a good word for Nigerian police officers.

I was kidnapped in Port Harcourt two years ago and have subsequently been deeply touched by the moral and practical support that I personally have received from various senior, junior and middle-ranking policemen and women.

If only ALL Nigerian policemen and women could be as nice to ALL Nigerians, the NPF would inspire confidence and improve its terrible reputation.

To be fair, the NPF suffers from a chronic lack of resources. And police officers suffer so much poverty while they are risking their lives for us.   It is difficult to be honest and to excel when you are under terrible pressure.

By the way, the report also took a swipe at our political class by declaring that: “High levels of political terror have been an issue for Nigeria since 1993.”

If only the politicians who inflict misery on the populace could concentrate on the need to provide regular on-the-ground police officers with better training, better money, better todays and brighter tomorrows.


Men of substance

The Financial Times, a British newspaper, hosted an Africa Summit in London last month. Vice President Osinbajo was the main attraction and gave a terrific keynote speech. The man oozes class, competence and integrity. He really impressed the foreigners and made me feel so proud to be Nigerian.

Godwin Obaseki, the Governor of Edo State, also attended the above event; and the thing that struck me about him was how refreshingly modest and low-key he was.

He didn’t have an entourage. He wasn’t surrounded by aides. There were no security guards aggressively repelling anyone who dared to approach him.

Obaseki just quietly mingled with other Summit participants and chatted to anyone who wanted to talk to him. My instincts, which are usually sound, tell me that this intelligent, charming political CEO will do very well for his state.



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