Purging the Nigeria Police Force of mischievous elements

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The preponderance of mischievous elements and their uncivil character has for long created a gory pictorial representation of the Nigeria Police Force. The mess has by and large brought a stench on the Force which has unfortunately made it lose respect from the general public. From bribery and corruption to unprofessional and uncivil conducts, particularly within the rank and file cadres, the Police Force is known to be fraught with men who have for long cast the snare of waffling   image on the institution.

The lackadaisical posture of the police authorities to leave the menace unchecked, successfully plunged the whole Country into the serious crisis of the #ENDSARS protests which have yielded strings of disturbances that heated the polity in the past few weeks. It is however important to redeem its image, that the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force must work beyond the limits of the present circumstances by expeditiously taking convincing steps which are appreciable as remediation to the enormous damages already done.

A step in this direction seemingly reflected in Lagos, with the dismissal by the State’s Police Command of no fewer than 10 officers for various offences ranging from murder, discreditable conduct, excessive use of power and corruption among others. In a statement on Wednesday, by the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, it was noted that some of the affected personnel were attached to Lagos State Police Command, while others were serving at various police formations within Lagos State. The statement titled ‘Lagos command kicks against indiscipline, dismisses 10 personnel’ read partly: “In its bid to promote discipline and core values of policing in Lagos State, the Police Command has tried 81 personnel for various criminal and disciplinary offences that were committed between October 2019 and October 2020. The offences range from murder, discreditable conducts, excessive use of power, corrupt practices to negligence. 10 personnel were dismissed. In addition, 18 of the men were reduced in ranks and 29 were awarded N10 major entries and warning letters accordingly. Others were awarded extra fatigue, while 16 of the men were discharged and acquitted for want of evidence. The personnel tried in the orderly room proceedings conducted at various locations in Lagos State, included 45 inspectors. Similarly, some senior officers of the command have been queried for various disciplinary offences and the queries are being processed at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, for necessary action and punishments. The trials were instituted based on a series of complaints/allegations levelled against them.”

It is essential that such moves be further strengthened to purge the Police Force from uncivil and mischievous elements, portraying the Force in the wrong light before not only Nigerians, but the world at large. The nature of the duty of Police men in every organised State, is to ensure sanity in the society by working to foster tranquil atmosphere of orderliness for citizens to carry out their businesses without fear, distrust and panic. The Police is by and large expected to be the immediate security agency responsive to the masses in ensuring optimum safety and security of lives and properties domestically.

It is however pathetic that where the Nigeria Police is supposed to be at the frontline of these duties, it has become a source of threat and pestilence to the masses it ought to be protecting. The row of the #ENDSARS campaign is a key pointer of the grievances to the recklessness and flagrant show of impunity by Police officers, which have been allowed to build up for years without concrete efforts effected to put in checks against them. The importance of retracing the order of the Nigeria Police Force is highly demanding amidst the prevailing circumstances.

For the Force to rebuild its image on better light of perception, it is essential that an overhauling exercise of the Force should be put in view, as a way to reorder the posture of the Force. It is important that all suspected and alleged cases of corruption, brutalities and irrational conducts by ill-postured Police officers be tried fairly without bias, while all those found guilty be prosecuted with the associated punitive measures. All cases deserving dismissal should not be ignored. This will serve as a warning to other officers with corrupt and mischievous proclivities, to call themselves back to the order of reason, to act with discipline and civility in the light of the definition of their duties as provided by the constitution of the Country. Tolerating unscrupulous elements within the Force is a time bomb which may explode with dire consequences beyond the experiences of the #ENDSARS demonstrations. To avert a future uncontrollable fallout and face-off with the populace, it is essential that the authorities of the Nigerian Police Force swing into the bar of strictly holding its officers to account.