Nothing better justifies the need to now collectively push for the establishment of state police in Nigeria than the current security challenges facing the country and for which the police now seems overwhelmed. It is now common knowledge that the security of life and properties of the citizens remains a cardinal objective of setting up a government.
Nigeria, a country of an estimated 174.2 million people only grapples with 370,000 policemen with analysts estimating the ratio of one policeman to 100,000 citizens. Even a machine or robot would not be effective when thrown into use in this kind of a situation. It is even worsened by the fact that politicians and political office holders, top businessmen and wealthy Nigerians have policemen posted to serve them, thus further depleting the ranks against the citizens who are now forced to resort to self-help.
In many streets in various communities, residents now employ the services of vigilantes or night watchmen, many of whom are not even trained for the task but simply see the job as an opportunity to earn money for themselves and their families.
The average duty of the police is to maintain internal security but undoubtedly, the lack of adequate police officers partly and effectively gives hoodlums, criminals and the criminally minded the opportunity to strike at will given every little circumstance.
However, while some even argue about poor funding of the police, it is widely known that the police system itself is made of more ‘rotten eggs’ than even imagined. If not, how would a security system paid with public fund employ officers who become public enemies? How could a policeman suddenly turn his gun at innocent Nigerians over a little provocation? We daily hear sour tales of this sort.
It is awful to note that among every 10 Nigerians, at least, eight have a resentment for the police because of some unsavoury experiences with the law enforcement agency. At least, seven out of every 10 believe that the police is a foe and not a ‘friend’ as the force largely wants to make people believe.
As it is now, there is hardly any state in Nigeria that has not been enveloped in one form of security challenge or the other, the latest being the lives and properties destroyed in the Mile 12 area and its environs in Lagos, a former capital of Nigeria and Africa’s business hub on Thursday.
Many of the residents accused the police of looking the other way until much harm had been done and the Governor of the state, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, declared a curfew later in the evening.
We recall with much sadness the abduction of three students in their school in the Imota area of Ikorodu, Lagos on Monday while they were preparing for their examination. According to parents of the girls, it took the police time to brace up for the search of the students. According to them, this was why it became difficult to track the children immediately.
The Agatu communities in Benue State have now been rendered homeless as a result of the nefarious activities of cattle herdsmen. Their plight did not start today, but what had been the role of the police in maintaining peace in the area? It is not just enough to rush into a crisis scene, restore peace and leave the people to their fate till crisis erupts again. Why shouldn’t there be constant enlightenment?
Just like many other Nigerians, we urge the Federal Government, particularly the National Assembly, to begin to look into the possibility for states to establish their policing system. The Nigerian Governors’ Forum must also commence agitation in this regard. Apart from helping to curb insecurity, it would also help reduce unemployment. State police is the panacea to the numerous security challenges the nation is grappling with now.tweet