The Nigeria Police Force has been in the fore of discourse most recently. This discourse is one which transcends domestic quarters to the front of international attention. Stronger magnetic force of attention to the Nigeria Police took emphatic stare particularly in the wake of the #ENDSARS protest which drew international attention over the apparent brutality of men of the Force. Records of the unprofessional conducts of men of the Force have over the years been condoned by Nigerians, many of whom have in one point suffered some sorts of inhumane treatment from Policemen in the Country. The prevailing knowledge of the character-posture of the Police is such that is seen to be drenched in the garment of reproach, owing to several misdemeanors exhibited by men of the Force glaringly to the public space. This has for years rubbed off on the image of the Force with the perception of reproach to which members of the public view it.
However, while it is arguable that not all the men of the Force are disgustingly bad, it is apparent that the volume of those who appear in public spaces are in larger percentage bad eggs misrepresenting the Force and thus the ill perception with which the public now views it. It is a common fact that with the level of impunity, bribery, and unnecessary assaults among enraging unprofessional conducts of the men of the Force, the Nigeria Police has been reduced to the background of being viewed with no dignity amid the loss of public confidence in it.
The perception of disdain with which members of the public views the Force owes pragmatically to the years of insensitivity to curbing the gross indiscipline exhibited by men of the Force in their dealings with Nigerians. Majority of the officers of the Force particularly those mobilised for routine patrols and those at road checkpoints among other duty posts, that deals with direct engagement with Nigerians in the public space, have only successfully misbehaved over time to write a bad name and acquire a gory image for the Force. It is imperative to note that Nigerians are bound to define the Force by what they see the officers who are meant to be ambassadors of the Police institution do. The preponderance of ills from men of the Force at reoccurring profile have thus reduced the Force to the position of disgrace where it appears stinking with loss of respect before members of the public.
The onslaught that greeted the Police from the public during the #ENDSARS protests with the outrage over Police architectures in retaliation to what is seen as the brutal and inhumane treatment of Nigerians by men of the Force, particularly the officers of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) which sparked the protest initially, was a reflection of the rubicon of obnoxious impunity of officers of the Force using State’s instruments to oppress the citizens they are meant to protect. The wild reactions which trailed the protests had led to setting up panels of inquiry to trial cases of Police brutality in some states of the Federation. This was apparently considered as a strategic tool to pacify the enraged youth who broke the limit in calling international attention to the ignored cries of brutality which over time had been treated with levity. While some ray of light has been seen in this regard in redressing some of these cases, it is largely not at the depth to which the demands to rejig the culture of the Police require. It is imperative to note that the level of rot in the Force demands stronger enforcement and approach to change the narratives of the prevailing profile of the Police Force. Since the subject of the unprofessional and repugnant demeanour perceivable in the Force is a matter of cultural defects which is part of the psychology of the officers with emphasis on the rank and file, it is important that the attention needed to address such defects should be institutional, concerted and forcefully directed towards overhauling the entire system for a psychological redemption.
News of the dismissal of a Police Sergeant, named Eze Aiwansoba, attached to the Special Protection Unit, Base 16, Ikeja, Lagos who shot his girlfriend, Joy Ndubueze, October last year, at Salvation road, in Opebi area of Ikeja, came into public space on Monday. The narrative of the tale which led to the gruesome misdemeanor of the mischievous sergeant was on the account that the duo were reportedly in a relationship until the lady decided to quit over physical abuse by the policeman. On his part, the police Sergeant had accused her of cheating on him; a development that led to a verbal confrontation between the duo at the said bus stop that fateful night where the policeman resorted to firing a shot at Ndubueze in the face; causing other frightened commuters to scamper in different directions. On noticing the magnitude of his deed, he fled the scene, abandoning the dying Ndubueze to her fate. Fortunately, she survived at the hospital where she was rushed to.
During an investigation on his whereabouts, the Sergeant was discovered to be off duty and not issued a police rifle or arms as at the time of the incident. He later underwent an Orderly Room Trial after he was fished out at the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Yaba, where he was found culpable. In a release to the effect of the dismissal, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, had explained that “The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, ordered for the orderly room trial of the suspect where he was found guilty and recommended for dismissal. The approval for his dismissal was contained in a letter numbered PC. 458465/LS/DFA/2, dated 2nd February 2021. After his dismissal, Ex-Sergeant Eze Aiwansoba was transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department for prosecution via letter numbered AR:3100/LS/SPM/Vol.2/311 dated 3rd February 2021. The State CID had written a letter to the Director of Public Prosecution, Lagos State, for legal advice which was eventually replied. It noted that the sergeant should be charged to court for attempted Murder contrary to Sec 230, Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015. The Ex-sergeant was charged to Magistrate Court, Yaba, on February 9, 2021, with attempted murder of Joy Ndubueze; and the case is still on.”
While such efforts are commendable towards serving as deterrent to other undisciplined officers who use the instruments of protection for destruction, it is however essential to note that moving ahead from such level to the height of responsiveness to correspondingly attend to the depths of rot in the Force is paramount. In this light, it is imperative for efforts to be directed towards broadening the architecture of discipline against the prevailing rot in the system of the Police Force. Working towards the direction of overhauling the entire force from the enclaves of indiscipline which has over the years drenched it in the mire of reproach. Thus, institutionalising the processes of working architectures to overhaul the Force from agents of rot is paramount towards redeeming the Nigeria Police from deep mire.