THE Nigeria Police Force, NPF, threw caution and decorum to the winds when its Public Relations Officer, Mr Jimoh Moshood, on Monday, issued a statement flagrantly debunking the news of its officers’ protests in the embattled city of Maiduguri earlier in the day.
The officers, according to reports from credible newspaper and television outfits in the country, took to the streets of the Borno State capital chanting angry protest songs, shooting into the air and complaining over the six months unpaid allowances of the 10,000-strong personnel sent to the flashpoint of Boko Haram terror to maintain law and order.
Many of them who did not bother to hide their identities were recorded on videos which went viral on worldwide networks. In a dramatic attempt at damage control, however, Police Spokesman, Moshood declared: “The Force wishes to categorically state that it is not correct that police personnel protested in Maiduguri today, July 2nd 2018.
Some of the Police Mobile Force personnel on special duty went to the Borno State Police Command Headquarters on enquiry over the delay in the payment of their special duty allowance in the early hours of today and not on protest as reported in some media”.
This statement, apart from reflecting a twisted and untrue version of what transpired in Maiduguri, was a vain and failed attempt to discredit the professional integrity of media outlets which have served the nation with distinction and earned the trust of discerning Nigerians and people throughout the world. It also portrayed the desperation of the Police authorities to bury smoke, which is impossible.
Why would any media house be interested if all that transpired was that officers went quietly to ask for their unpaid allowances? In any case, why on earth would policemen or indeed any public official or group sent to the war front to risk their lives to protect fellow citizens be denied of their entitlements?
When armed police officers are starved of their already meagre allowances the crime-prone ones among them can easily turn their guns against the very people they are supposed to protect. This ought to be obvious to the management of the Police Force. The Police under Inspector General Ibrahim Idris has been mired in so many controversies over the past one year. Adding the peddling of public misinformation to the list is totally unhelpful.
IGP Idris and his management team should know that the world is now a global village.Events like this help to fix countries in their proper places in the World Police Index in which the Nigerian Police currently ranks as the worst. The Police must clean up their acts and work harder to re-establish trust and respect with their real employers, the Nigerian public.