•Delta worst hit by herdsmen attacks- Saturday Vanguard investigation
•Police officers open up, retired DIG paints pathetic picture of a struggling force
•Presidency needs political will to tame herders
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Sam Oyadongha (Yenagoa), Festus Ahon (Asaba), Egufe Yafugborhi, Davies Iheamnachor (Port Harcourt), Perez Brisibe (Ughelli) and Francis Efe (Warri)
FROM our findings across many police stations in South-South states, during the week, Divisional Police Stations do not have sufficient up-to-the-minute weapons to combat criminals, who are better armed with both AK-47 and AK-49 rifles.
The Divisions also lack enough manpower, while the Divisional Police Officers, DPOs, who are the foot soldiers of the respective Commissioners of Polices in the states, have no imprest to man the police stations and so, anything goes.
State governors release vehicles and other logistics to Commissioners of Police to fight crime, but how the funds trickle down to the DPOs are not checked. However, the most worrisome development is that policemen dread to confront criminals because they parade more sophisticated weapons.
We found that some police stations have just five AK-47 rifles to fight criminals and maintain peace in an entire police division. While some DPOs assign at least three AK -47 rifles to his men to protect the police station from attack, only two are deployed to serve the division during operations.
It sounds unbelievable, but it is true that police officers buy bullets with their own money to chase criminals, it is no longer news that they buy, sew their own uniforms, purchase fuel and carry out repairs on vehicles they use for operations from money they generate.
Several persons see under staffing and poor equipment of the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, as a major problem of the police in the country.
Police run from challenging herdsmen in Delta
Last week, a group of five suspected armed herdsmen stormed a residence at Admiralty Neighborhood Estate, Ibusa, Oshimili North Local Government Area, Delta State, to abduct an inhabitant, Emeka, who was watching television when they came at about 8.00 pm.
Some residents, including the landlord of the apartment, who escaped with his wife by climbing the fence with a ladder, ran to the Ibusa Police Station, Ibusa, to alert the police, but the police officers met on duty, said they had no functional vehicle and petrol to operate.
A Good Samaritan offered his car and took the police officers armed with two guns to Emeka’s dwelling. Whether the policemen were told the rampaging herdsmen were five was unclear, but they arrived the residence at about 8.30 pm and luckily, the herdsmen were still in Emeka’s domicile, either still ransacking his home or waiting for him to prepare meal for them.
Strangely, they left under the guise that they were seeking reinforcement. The herdsmen escaped with Emeka when they returned at 9.00 pm. Emeka’s people paid a ransom of N200, 000, N5, 000 recharge card and seven plates of food before the profit-making kidnappers released him the next day, Sunday, last week.
On April 8, a similar incident occurred at Ibusa when Ejimogha sent a distress message to his son who is based in Asaba, capital of Delta state that herdsmen were surrounding their Ibusa home attempting to forcefully gain entrance. The criminals had taken Mr, Lawrence Ojeashi hostage from his house at about 8.30 pm same day. The police officers after encouraging Ejimogha’s son, who drove from Asaba to lodge a report at the station, simply told him that it was too late in the day for them to follow him to the scene of crime.
Some days after, men of the Issele-Azagba Vigilante group in Aniocha North local government area alerted the police about the herdsmen, who invaded a poultry farm in the community, members of a police patrol team deployed in the community over rising kidnapping in the area, excused themselves, asking the vigilante members to carry on. The poultry manager and security guard were shot dead in cold blood by the suspected Fulani herdsmen after one of the herdsmen was identified.
Not many see the above inactions of the police as caused by lack of equipment and under-staffing. In fact, a security expert told Saturday Vanguard: “The police officers, who went back for reinforcement should have been dismissed by now. They are better trained than the herdsmen and since it was night, they should have called for reinforcement on phone, laid ambush at different positions and fired warning shots, the herdsmen must come out on hearing such shots not knowing if the place had been surrounded by police officers or not, they (policemen) would take them out, but they chickened out.”
Our security agencies’ been commercialized, police not well trained – Zuokumor, retired DIG
A retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mike Zuokumor, who blamed the whole saga on commercialization of NPF, told one of our reporters: “The Nigeria Police have a lot of excuses for their inefficiencies and one of such is the lack of manpower. But how will they be enough men when a single, top Senator may have up to 20 policemen deployed to guard him. Another senator next to the first one has another 20 while another House of Representative member has 10 policemen.”
Zuokumor, who retired in 2014 as DIG, Operations, Force Headquarters, said if truth be told:
”Right now, there is what is called the commercialization of the forces. What I mean by this is that, if an individual has some little money, he can approach the police, particularly the Commissioner of Police and lobby for policemen to be posted to him.
“However, even though we are experiencing lack of manpower, for the men that are available, are they trained? And how were they deployed to their current beats? The quality of the policeman is the most important thing as many of them are not well trained,” he said.
Citing the scenarios of elections in selected states, he said: “We have cases during by-elections in some states, for instance in Kogi state, we move like half of the entire police force to the state. If you check, a huge chunk of the men will just be there doing nothing, this is another drain on the police manpower.
“Another big challenge the police faces is the circle in the police college. A president can just wake up one morning and say I want to recruit 10, 000 men into the Police Force and by doing that, the police devote all its time and resources on the training of these new recruits, which is supposed to be the duty of the police college that ought to be running every day and every year.
“If the Police College is functioning effectively as it should, you can have a batch today, and after training them, another set will come in, but with this mass training, many of them do not get commensurate training, yet they pass out into the Force as policemen.
40% of police officers are illiterates
”Unfortunately, with this mass training, do you know that about 40 percent of policemen cannot even read and write? Yet they are enforcing the law, so how can they know and enforce the law when they do not know how to read and write?
”Also, those who passed out without proper training and still do not know how to read and write, will be promoted to be officers and that is why when you have an issue and you go to the police, it is not properly tackled because the officer in charge does not know what he/she is supposed to do and what not to do.”
On the daily running of police stations, Zuokumor asserted: “There are no monies set aside for the daily running of the police stations. Running of the police stations is part of the problem of the Nigeria Police Force because the divisions are not given monies for the running of their stations, hence the DPOs run it on behalf of his/her men.
“The same is the case for operational vehicles used by the policemen, particularly those on special operations. An example of this is the Anti-Robbery Squad. When they recover cars from armed robbers, they publish the recovery of the cars in the dailies and on the television so that the owners can come and claim them, but there are others that are not collected and these cars are used for operations, which ought not to be. Police need a lot of training and professionalism.
“Other challenges in the police include the annual budgetary provision for the force which is not always enough,” he added.
Why policemen don’t want to confront criminals
A senior police officer, who spoke to us in Warri on strict anonymity, said: “There are many problems bedeviling the Nigerian Police Force. Every division has its own peculiar problem. Manpower is one of our problems, we do not have enough men to police the area. How do you expect a division that has less than 50 men to police an areas where we have hundreds of thousands of people? Of course we cannot.”
”One thing you must know is that the bulk of police work lies in the administrative department, which is the divisional police station. This sector has been neglected and concentration is now taken to the state level. At the state level we have Operation Delta, Quick Response Squad, etc. What are all these teams doing except to raid some beer parlors and all that.
”Another challenge we have is that of inadequate equipment to work. We do not have working tools. We do not have enough guns and ammunition to fight criminals when we are called upon by the citizens. Sometimes we do not respond quickly enough because we might not have the wherewithal to respond immediately.
”Our vehicles are old and sometimes they breakdown on the road. We also do not have enough firearms to withstand the robbers who are using sophisticated weapons. Criminals have more weapons than we do. So how do you expect our men to face criminals with inferior weapons or inadequate weapons? It is going to be hard because policemen are also humans too.
”The worst thing we are faced with today is the recruitment process. These days, recruitments are hijacked by officers at the top. They see this recruitment as a way to help their families and friends. They give the job to charlatans, who do not know what they are doing in the society. They even recruit prostitutes and armed robbers as police officers. This is the reason you see a lot of unprofessional conduct everywhere unlike those days. Before now, only qualified people are recruited into the Nigerian Police Force. But what do you see today, people with questionable characters are the people you see in the force.”
In Bayelsa, policemen sleep in offices
The police have come under intense criticism from the public for the obvious reason of corruption and the attendant rising crime in the land. Sometimes, complainants fuel patrol vehicles if they (police operatives) must accompany them to effect arrest.
A police officer in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, who admitted some misdemeanors personnel, said: “We are doing our best in the face of the enormous challenges facing the institution. Let the police go on strike just for a day and Nigerians will appreciate our efforts. Nobody is saying anything about our constraints. Look at the Bayelsa scenario, there is no barracks and befitting accommodation for our men. Some have converted the little space around the station as their homes, while others sleep within the station complex. How do we put in our best under such deplorable circumstances?
“Yes, we have challenges confronting the police such as under-funding, lack of equipment with which to carry out our work, under-staffing and poor motivation.”
“It is a shame that in a country as rich as ours, bandits are better armed than us (police). And most times we are outnumbered by these hoodlums,” another personnel lamented, recalling the attack on the Agudama-Epetiama Police Division in Yenagoa local government, sometime last July, by suspected sea robbers.
“A pregnant police woman and two sergeants on duty lost their lives. Also, the DPO was killed in his sleep. Before our men on patrol could race to the station, the attackers had retreated and escaped through the creek.”
The police source, who spoke anonymously, told Saturday Vanguard the sad incident underscore the inherent danger faced by operatives in the course of carrying their duty.
“Perhaps, if that particular station was to have a fence it would have acted as first line of defense for personnel on duty, but the premises like several other stations were open making it vulnerable for any attacker to strike.”
A police sergeant attached to the Operation Puff Adder of the Bayelsa Police, stated: “Let me tell you the truth, no Nigerian policeman would want to risk his life in this job because it is not worth it. To start with, how much are we paid? I work for twenty-four hours a day in six days and only have one day off. Mine is better because my beat is lucrative for the operations we embarked on, so we make money every day. But others are not so lucky. That is why I will lobby to be retained here. Generally, the working conditions are not what they are supposed to be, but what can we do?”
However, a senior police officer, who craved anonymity told our reporter that the police force like other security agencies in the country has its own challenges, which he noted were not peculiar to the police alone.
”We are not overwhelmed, but we are not where we are supposed to be, but considering the peculiarities of own country, you will agree with me that we are trying our best. You see the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC was set up to assist the police and the Peace Corps also in the making. Similarly, the state police that is been proposed are some of the ways of tackling insecurity. Having said this, the police are understaffed and we need more hands,” he added.
Activists express concern
Speaking on the development, Barrister Iniruo Wills, President Ijaw Professionals Association (Homeland Chapter) and environmental/human rights activist, said: “It is simply one of thousands of symptoms of perennial poor governance in Nigeria. If those who manage government lack either the cognitive capacity or a conscious will for problem solving, the parlous security situation will stay the same or grow worse, despite any wishful thinking Nigerians do.”
“The President or the National Assembly can decide they want to finally get serious about it, which we see zero evidence of so far. Or civil society can organize to devise a program for engaging and compelling government to get serious, which there is no sign of also. Without will and capacity, nothing changes.”
It’s corruption, not equipment problem alone – Ambakederimo, S’South leader
Also, Mr. Joseph Ambakederimo, Convener, South -South Reawakening Group, said: “For me, corruption is at the root of all this. The Nigerian Police are short-staffed and there is the urgent need for the government to recruit massively into the force. We still rely on the conventional way of fighting crime. Training for manpower is weak. The Police do not want to think outside the box. Modern-day technology to track crime is lacking in the Police.”
“We begin with the Nigeria Police duties to maintain law and order and maintain internal security. I ask this question, when have the Nigerian Police become a revenue generating agency? I ask this question on the backdrop of the huge monies collected by the police for providing security to wealthy individuals and corporate organizations across the country.
“Today, besides providing security for politically exposed persons and their families, there are crop of wealthy Nigerians, not even wealthy, any Nigerian that stumbles on money somewhere will go and get the Police to provide security for them and their families and this, the Police do not do for free.
“So I come back to the question, who gives account for this money the Police get paid for providing security for individuals and multinational companies. Do they pay the money into the Federation Account? The answer is no, it goes into private pockets and the money is shared up to the very top. This money runs into billions of naira, every year. These are monies that can adequately fund the police equipment needs if that is the way we have to go.
“You see security men lobbying to be posted to the houses of wealthy individuals. They say they get free food, get some allowances from the ogas they protect; and have time to relax. At times you hear them say ‘that man I worked for takes care of somebody well, this other guy is not good’. So where will you find commitment for the job?
“Corruption is at the root of it all. You hear a Divisional Police Officer, DPO when he leaves office, saying he has built shopping mall everywhere. It is also here you hear a Police Commissioner retiring from office, saying he has housing estates scattered everywhere. Where do they make the money from? Are you telling me, a policeman in a county in New York, Houston or Florida, a Sheriff in a county, which is about the rank of a DPO will leave office and begin to flaunt properties he acquired while in office? How will he explain it?
“It is only in Nigeria you see police sergeants and inspectors acquire properties while in office, nobody ask questions. So where do we draw the line? They have abandoned the functions of their job to pursue personal wealth. Therefore, the present number of policemen cannot do that. I think that the issue of insecurity in Nigeria goes beyond equipping police officers with physical arms.
…it’s beyond problem of arms – Omare, ex-IYC president
Barrister Eric Omare, immediate past President, IYC, opined: “The issue of insecurity in Nigeria goes beyond equipping police officers with physical arms. Even where the arms are available, there are other issues like inadequately trained officers, poor remuneration of officers and even the man power may not be adequate considering our population.”
“The police officer to population ratio is very poor. So, I think that beyond the issue of arms there is need for a complete overhaul of the security architecture to address inadequate manpower, poor remuneration of officers, poor working environment and other associated problems militating against proper security in Nigeria.”
Pull out police from politicians – Morris, campaigner
Mr. Alagoa Morris, renowned environmental/human rights activist, said: “I believe the security agencies are trying their best. Whenever their colleagues are successfully attacked, they do all they could to get at the culprits. Unfortunately, like all pressure groups, including student unions and socio-political groups that are meant for the good of society; the efficacy of security agencies has been relatively weakened by the political class; even from the military era. Corruption and moral decay has caused a lot of damage to security.”
”Those at the helms of affairs, who lack morality are part of the problem since they misapplied power for selfish ends. This has affected the morale of security operatives; especially in terms of not having modern tools and weapons to confront criminals, who sometimes are better equipped. All things being equal; our security personnel ought to be undergoing regular training for effective service delivery.
“But, when the leadership of these security agencies is allegedly diverting funds meant for such good intentions to personal ends; the public suffers. That is what we are experiencing
. Let me suggest that, formal security personnel be withdrawn from politicians; except few unidentified public office holders like judges.
Police short-staffed, not overpowered— DSP Omoni, Rivers Command PPRO
Spokesman of the Rivers State Police Command, DSP. Nnamdi Omoni, admitted that the Command is understaffed and lacks good equipment, but quickly added that it is not overwhelmed.
Omoni said: “Well, generally speaking we are equal to the task. The Rivers State Police Command is blessed with about 15,000 police personnel. Before the advent of this virus, we were already doing what we were supposed to do, that is, prevention of crime and protection of lives and property.”
“The problem that is steering us in the face is that of lack of support and cooperation from the public. As police, we are not magicians or spirits. We are not immune against corona-virus, but unfortunately, we have not received enough palliatives going around now. We need morale encouragement from the public.
“We are not overwhelmed. We know how to manage our human resources. Every Command is faced with the same man power challenge. It permeates across the country. Every Command is managing what it has, criminals cannot overwhelm us.
“Our challenge is equipment. Basically, you and I know that police are underfunded. We do not have enough equipment to work with. Even before today, this problem had been hitting us. People know that the police are underfunded and do not have enough equipment to work with.
“And again, we are not overwhelmed and we are not lamenting. Even if we do not have, we are making good use of what we have. We will keep sustaining our responsibility of protecting lives and property,” the image maker said.
Wrong people are in the police force – Higher King, rights advocate
*Laments police buy everything except guns for operations
Human rights advocate based in Port Harcourt, Barrister Higher King, expressed regrets that police officers on duty even buy bullets to go on operations.
”Our leaders have neglected the funding of the Police Force. There are so many issues in the force now. Based on global standard, Nigerian has small personnel in the force to police the country adequately.
“Again, over 70 per cent of the people we have in the police force are not supposed to be there. I did a research on it personally. In the questionnaire, as I asked the respondents who are only serving police men ‘If you see another job will you leave the police?’ Over 70 per cent said yes. This shows that most of the personnel are there because of lack of job in the country not for the passion they have for the force. You cannot do what you don’t have passion for very well. Those who have passion for the job do not get it.
“The government on their own part is not ready to recruit the number of people needed to police the country. Government still says it does not have enough money. We do not have enough policemen.
“It is also sad that the police are made to buy everything for themselves. They do not have equipment. Police men buy everything you see them use, apart from guns. They buy their own uniforms, their shoes, berets. This is the reason you see them dress differently. Some of their materials and styles are different because they are from different fabrics and tailors.
“I have bought uniforms for them severally. Each of that uniform costs N15, 000. Because the government does not provide these things for them, some criminals will still go to those tailors and buy them.
“It is only guns they do not buy because you cannot bring guns into the police, their guns are numbered and registered, so you can’t bring it from the black-markets else police men would have also been buying their own guns to work for the country.
“They buy their own bullets when going out. They will go to the armorer and the person in charge will give them few bullets if they want more they will use their own money to buy. So they use their own money to buy enough bullets to face criminals. It is sad.
“When you go to a station to make complaint, they will request money to fuel their operational vehicle. Now a complainant will now provide money for the police to fight crime. The politicians have worsened everything about the police in the past 20 years.
“I do not support the police to go and face well-armed criminals with poor equipment. Some stations do not even have up to five working rifles and you want them to do magic.
“All the police workshops like the one we have at Borokiri area of Port Harcourt are not working. It was working very well during the colonial era. Government should sit up. There should be reform in the area of funding of the force.
“There should be factories here in Nigerian that will produce guns for the police and make their uniforms and shoes so they appear unique and equipped,” he said.
Meshack Uyi, Acting Executive Director, Integrity Group, a peace and security advocacy NGO said: ”The systemic rot limiting the capacity of the police is a mix of under-staffing, misappropriation etc.
”We have heard, found out about police procuring their own uniform from roadside tailors. Police in most official barracks live in the most inhuman housing conditions in the country, there are not enough arms, no life assurance backing.
”All of these demean morale among the police who lay down their lives to protect the people. Obviously, where there is no self- satisfaction in whatever you do for a living, you tend to cut corners to make end. The end loser in the populace who suffers inadequate protection.
”Let me add that the same spirit of corruption in the system also influences the police to give away sources of useful information to apprehend criminals among the populace. So the people do not also have confidence in the police and they withhold information, creating more setbacks on effective policing,” he said.
”So until our police are well trained, well equipped and well-motivated, we will still have the same problem,” he said.
Delta appears overawed by armed herdsmen
In Delta state, the police seemed to have been overwhelmed and busted to a corner by criminal elements, especially suspected Fulani herdsmen who have been unleashing terror on unsuspecting residents of the state in the last few months.
The suspected Fulani herdsmen have attacked several homes unchallenged by the police, either as a result of shortage of manpower or lack of adequate and sophisticated weapons to confront the daring hoodlums in a gun battle. The suspected herdsmen now feast on the people.
In one of the attacks at Graceland Estate, Okpanam, Oshimili North Local Government Area, where a family was attacked and the woman of the home compelled to prepare rice by the suspected Fulani herdsmen, wife of the victim, Mrs Joseph, said: “I put a call across to the Divisional Police Officer of Okpanam, but the DPO said that it was too late and that he could not come”.
A Police source, who pleaded anonymity, lamented that they do not have adequate manpower and weapons to smoke the suspected Fulani herdsmen from their hideouts in the forest.
According to him, in most cases when they were alerted of suspected Fulani herdsmen attack, they were always reluctant to respond due to lack of weapons and mobility.
He said the Police would do better if sufficiently equipped with weapons, mobility and other logistics.
As at Thursday when Saturday Vanguard across the South-South filed their reports, suspected herdsmen struck again along Onicha-Olona- Issele-Mkpitime-Issele-Uku road days after they abducted an Anglican clergy man from his farm at Issele-Mkpitime. Their target, a motor-cyclist outsmarted them and sped away. Policemen only came to the road after the incident to mount sentry, always reactive instead of proactive.
Though, a team of policemen led by Usman Dimka from the Police Headquarters, Asaba, responded to the cry of residents that suspected herdsmen came on surveillance to the Admiralty Neighbourhood Estate, Ibusa, on Monday, but before the team arrived, irate youths had chased away the criminals. –
VIPs, politicians turn policemen to domestic staff – Dr Mudiaga Odje
A human rights activist and lawyer, Dr Akpor Mudiaga-Odje who spoke on the ugly development, said: “It is now axiomatic that the insecurity in our nation today, is as a result of armed banditry, kidnappers and the unprovoked armed onslaught by herders against ethnic nationalities of our country especially in the southern divide of Nigeria.”
”The police whose constitutional duty includes prevention and detection of crime are indeed crestfallen on these matters. They are apparently ill equipped, not properly trained in both combative and prevention tactics nor are they even well paid.
”In addition, their numbers have been seriously depleted by being deployed to protect private companies, VIPs, politicians and their households. In some cases, they are even used as domestic staff running errands for VIPs.
”A combination of the above has severely weakened the abilities and capabilities of our Police.
”Furthermore, as in the case of herders, the Police in the states are usually overwhelmed not only by the sophisticated weapons of the herders, but also by the over abrasive influence of the godfathers of these vicious herders.
”Even in some cases too, some governors also lack the courage to go after the herders for fear of the Fulani oligarchy! We first need to, withdraw the police on private deployment in order to get a proportionate numeric decimal vis a vis the population of Nigeria,” he said.
DIG Zuokoumor (retd.) said: “I believe the Force needs to be decentralized as one person alone in Abuja cannot police the vast country with about 200 million Nigerians.”
“There was a speech I made some time ago and I recommended six Police Forces in the various geopolitical areas to run alongside head of training to help in checkmating the political appointments in the police force that comes with impunity. Then you can still have the non-uniformed men like the Force CID, but well trained to handle special cases. For the zones, they will run their own police.
“The Nigeria Police Force is just a part of the issues we are facing in the whole Nigerian state, so when the issues are being tackled, it is one of such and if you want to tackle the issues, you will have to be mindful of the kind of police force you want if you want it to be fair, straight forward,” he said.
Police ill-equipped, ill-trained, ill-motivated – Oghenejabor Ikimi
A Warri- based lawyer and human rights activist in Delta State, Oghenejabor Ikimi Esq., said:
”I will say that since 1999 till date our police have been ill-equipped, ill-trained and ill-motivated. These three ills have always been the reason the police have always been overwhelmed by criminals. Today people are using drones to fight crimes. In order for you to fight crimes, you need to be fully equipped to do that. You need good equipment and well trained police officers to use this equipment.
Ikimi, an Executive Director of the Center for the Vulnerable and Underprivileged, CENTREP, asserted: “In terms of forensic laboratories, apart from the ones we have in Abuja and Lagos, there is no other forensic laboratory in the country. How do you carry out investigation without forensics? What they are doing today is trial by error. They need modern equipment to fight crimes.”
Buhari should frontally address herdsmen infraction – Odje
Dr Odje, who is also a constitutional lawyer, said after retrieving policemen from VIPs: ”Thereafter, they should be trained and retrained with circumspection and quintessence. Then properly kitted and equipped with more up- to- date weapons. Their welfare and life insurance most also be addressed.
”Then the command structure, which places the police orders, control and actions in the Inspector General, must be reformed to give governors the power to also have some level of control over the Commissioners of Police in their States on such matters. If not, the Federal Government will continue to suppress any attempt to confront the herders.
”So I commend Amotekun and also the decision of the South- South governors to establish a common regional security for its people.
”Notwithstanding, until we get these reforms, Mr President should summon the courage and political will to address the issues of insecurity caused by these herders. Mr President should direct the Police hierarchy to dispassionately handle the menace of these headers.
“The President and the Police must however be commended for arresting the suspected killers of the daughter of the Elder statesman from the South West. We urge them to do more of this intelligence gathering and synchronize operations with the Governors of the respective States for more impact and effect on our collective quest and zest for peace to return to our land”.
Remove bad eggs
On his part, former Delta state governorship aspirant, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, said: “The over centralization of police authority, inadequate training, poor remuneration, lack of patriotic zeal and absence or poor motivation to personnel of the Nigeria police force are some of the challenges undermining the capacity of the Nigerian police.
“The appearance of police often comes with picture of fear and mistrust instead of inspiring hope and assurance in the public and as a result public confidence is eroded. The creation of state police is the panacea for the rising insecurity issues currently confronting the nation.
”Therefore the National Assembly must as a matter of urgency expedite action in the process of passing the bill for the creation of state police, as this would further enhance the capacity of state governors to fully secure and protect the lives and properties of people in the state, being their chief security officer. ”
Bring back reward system- Taiga, Delta CDHR
Chairman, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Comrade Kehinde Taiga, appealed to the Federal Government to bring back the reward system, which encouraged police officers to put in their best.
”The police today are not working effectively because the government has refused to motivate and reward them. If the government of the day is rewarding policemen, who fight criminals to a standstill, all policemen in the country will put in their best. Before now policemen who apprehended armed robbers were given promotions for their gallantry. This was how the Nigerian policemen were promoted in the 80s.
”Today, if anything happens to a policeman in the line of duty, his family is neglected and they are not even given proper burial. So the government is contributing seriously to the ineffectiveness of the police. They need to be rewarded and promoted according to their work. If this is done every policeman will be going to the street to look for criminals so that he can be promoted.
”In psychology, there is something we call positive reinforcement of behavior. This allows a person to continue to behave in such way that will make him continue to get positive reinforcement. But when this is lacking, the behavior will change,” he intoned.
Device means to ensure under-staffing does not affect operations – Rights group
Chairman Civil Rights Council, Rivers State, Prince Wiro, urged the police to device strategies to ensure that problem of under-staffing do not affect their mandate of policing the state.
“We have received several reports on the fact that police are understaffed and the effect on their mandate. Most especially in this period that most of their personnel are being posted to man the borders and monitor the streets on lock down.
“Police should device a means to bring in more personnel to the command and stations so that they can be able to effectively tackle crime,” he suggested
Four things NPF must do — Ejelonu, ex-NBA official
Former National Financial Secretary, Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Barr Kelvin Ejelonu, said: “For me I think there are four steps the government should take to make the Nigerian police force not only more efficient and effective but also more responsive to what is required of it in a democratic setting.
”First, there has to be recruitment into the Nigerian police as the number of policeman currently in the Nigerian Police force are grossly inadequate when compared to the number of citizens.
”Secondly, both the policemen on ground and the ones to be recruited have to be trained and retrained, particularly from the lower rank cadre. This is very important as there is absolutely lack of professionalism at the lower cadre both with contact with the public and even with their fellow colleagues and also how they handle weapons.
”Thirdly, the Nigerian police must respect specialization. Officers trained on homicide issues should not be engaged in assault matters, but strictly on homicide issues.
”Fourthly, the Nigerian police force have to carry out psychiatric test on all policemen that bear arms and likely to bear arms and these categories of police officers have to be reminded of the consequences of illegal discharge or unlawful killing. This has become imperative as these days, there are stories of policemen shooting and killing civilians and even fellow policemen unlawfully.
Police not subdued, need motivation —David-West, activist
A rights activist/public affairs analyst and member of the Civil Liberties Organization, CLO, Bayelsa State branch, Mr David West, told Saturday Vanguard: “For me, I would not to say that the Nigerian Police Force is being overwhelmed by the criminals of today. It is because of the lack of motivation and the needed materials to carry out the functions and responsibilities given to them by the Nigerian Police Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that establishes the Nigerian Police Force.
”Another thing is that the police are not equipped with modern gadgets and some policemen are not well kitted.