By: Chinenyeh Ozor
Nigeria police force has been said to be understaffed, underfunded and lacks decent barracks for effective performance in crime prevention, detention and insurgency among other social vices in the country
Hon. Chinwe Ugwu a political figurehead in Enugu State disclosed this in a statement she issued commending the appointment of the former Inspector General of Police Alhaji Musilu Smith as the chairman police service commission ( PSC) , noting that Nigeria with a population close to 200 million has less than 400,000 policemen and highly under policed, fallen far short of the United Nation’s universal requirement for appropriately policing a country.
Chinwe former chairman Nsukka West Local government Development Centre said that for a police force that is grossly understaffed and underfunded over decades, the choice of Smith by the present administration was a well thought out decision because of his wealth of experience in the police network system in the country.
“For almost a decade, Nigeria has been battling with insecurity occasioned by the terrorist activities of the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram As government war against Boko Haram seems to be recording positive results, kidnap, armed robbery, cultism and other crimes have also intensified,” she said.
She noted that police have central role to play in restoring the nation’s internal security and has so far been overstretched by the high level of insecurity, explaining that the appointment of the former Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Musiliu Adeola Kunbi Smith by President Muhammadu Buhari as the chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) could not have come at a better time than now.
“Nigeria Police service is among the least remunerated sectors in the country in spite of the high risk associated with the job. Although the police service is also the most criticized and disparaged public institution in the country, many people do not care to find out the reasons responsible for the underrating of the police in the country” Chinwe said.
“There is virtually no motivation and for many decades officers and men of the force have been made to work under very inhumane conditions unlike other services such as the military, customs, immigration, prisons and even the National Security and Civil Defence Corps.
An average Nigerian policeman has no accommodation. There is virtually no existent barracks in the police force. What they have can best be described as shanty barracks, devoid of comforts and decency. The Police barracks “are filthy, overcrowded and dilapidated, needing repairs that will not readily come. Even with these, they are grossly inadequate… Police children are raised in the ordeal, a very harsh upbringing that could make them gutless adults than responsible leaders of tomorrow”
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“There is no doubt that the problem of corruption in the Nigeria police has attracted the attention of some sections of the international community.
For instance, a report released by the United States government in January 2012 noted that corruption and lack of capacity hinder the ability of the Nigeria Police Force to respond to security and terrorist threats within the nation’s borders” she said..
Chinwe graduate of political science stressed that human Rights Watch report of 2011 observed that Nigeria Police Force was implicated in frequent human rights violations, including torture, arbitrary arrests, and other related abuses, alleging that the police of rank and file routinely solicit bribes from victims to investigate crimes.
She said Smith with his track records in the police force will transform the police from a disgruntled and beleaguered service to a motivated, functional and incorruptible institution, pointing out that Smith as the first Inspector General that led the force at the return of democracy in 1999, has the intelligence to chart a course for a modern and civilized force and change the negative image of the force.
“Alhaji Smith has initiated several policies aimed at reforming the police. One of such is the ban placed on the promotion of officers without examination. The Police Service Commission (PSC) under Smith declared last year that henceforth police officers will no longer be promoted to the next rank without the requisite training programmes and examinations “
” Henceforth, one of the conditions for promotion must be attendance and passing the senior Command Course for senior officers and other prescribed courses for others”
Smith had noticed that the force before now had promoted officers severally without attending the requisite training programmes attached to the ranks. Result of performance of officers from appropriate training courses must be attached to the recommendation to the commission for promotion”.
Chinwe said that the former IGP Smith had frowned at irregular postings of officers, saying that officers should be allowed to stay at a new post for two to three years .and expressed displeasure on the long stay of officers posted to the Police Mobile Force (PMF)
“Smith advised that every officer should be a licensed driver so that during operations, in case of sudden incapacitation of the team’s driver, someone else would take over, warned against the indiscriminate conversion of Police specialists to general duty without due consideration to their valuable role in the force.” She noted.