Rising Insecurity: How Nigeria Police is Designed to Fail

Rising Insecurity: How Nigeria Police is Designed to Fail

Aliyu Nuhu

AREWA AGENDA – The security problems of Nigeria is squarely the failure of internal policing. The military and DSS are only there to assist.

Nigerian police has a strength of 371,000 men, not enough to police 923,000 square kilometers of land and a population of 200 million people. From its numbers,the police is designed to fail in its primary objective of detecting and preventing crimes. The quality also matters. Police recruit social misfits and criminals from the start. The training is supposed to even harden them more. Visit any police college and you will weep at the feeding arrangements and accommodation. Ask any mopol man about police mobile training school in Gwoza,and you will hear of tales about hell on earth.

There is nothing the police is not capable of doing under the sun. They sold arms to armed robbers, they robbed homes and highways,they carried out kidnappings,they freed dangerous criminals and indulged in extortion at any turn of the corner anywhere in the country. Why?

Let’s take a closer look at the police by starting with the office.

There are 36 State commands,12 zones and 7 administrative units. But the real work happens at divisional office levels. There are at least 744 and 1579 stations of them scattered around the nation. Visit any of them and you will see that the police is not ready to fight crimes.

There is hardly any real furniture to start with. No light, even if there is electricity in the area, police hardly pays electricity bills. There is no computers,no crime laboratory,no modern weapons,no modern communication gadgets; in short no even paper to write. The police will ask you to provide money to buy paper or petrol for your complaints.

Last year in July they were on Maiduguri streets demonstrating against unpaid salaries. They were owed six months salaries. The law does not allow them to complain,so when they do,know that they were pushed to the wall.

How could they fight crime without salaries?

Hear tales of police losing men in combat operation with armed robbers and kidnappers. Why? Because for such special and dangerous operation, the police has no personal body armour. How much does a complete kit cost? Bullets blocker is $400(144,000 Naira), a ballistic helmet is $300(108,000). Why should police lose its men from rag tag kidnappers? I once asked Abba Kyari this. And the answer is lack of funds.

In 2017, the Nigeria Police proposed N342billion for capital projects but only N20.19billion was appropriated out of which only N9.09billion was released so far. So you can see the problem. In 2018, N586, 448, 863 was allocated to the police to fuel its vehicles. If you divide the money among 1,579 police stations in the country, each station will get N1, 017.00 per day for the 365 days in the year.

So much about police logistics! So funding is key factor to police failure.

Now I know my police friends and brothers will not like this post but the truth is Nigerian police has lost its soul and it is causing more harm than good to this country.

Any leader wanting to end crimes in Nigeria must start with the police by practically overhauling it from scratch. It’s not about identifying and rooting out the bad eggs,it is about changing the system to prevent the bad eggs from entering the police.

The selection process is so dysfunctional that police recruit armed robbers and criminals into its ranks and hand over weapons to them to continue their trade by “legally” committing all kinds of violent crimes.

The kidnappings along Kaduna-Abuja highways have the footprint of the police. Nothing short of lack of confidence and suspicion of complicity of its own men will make a former police IG replace all his officers on patrol along the highway.

Report any kidnapping to police anywhere and the answer you get is an advice to cooperate with the kidnappers in order to free your relative. This is scary and an ominous sign of total security collapse.

If the police high authority does not clean and change its process from within, someone must help the police by cleaning it from outside.

I am surprised the National assembly has all but lost interest in the police. But there is nothing strange in it because the police is the most corruption compliant of all the enforcement agencies. The National Assembly is globe in hands with the police to wreck this nation.

The law establishing the police is archaic and does not serve Nigeria’s security interest. All countries that succeed in dealing with crimes have different levels of policing,at Federal, State and local levels.

Police funding, recruitment, accountability and discipline should be looked into with a view to making the force security compliant.

Arewa Agenda is a Publication of Young Writers from Northern Nigeria towards Peaceful Coexistence and National Development through positive narratives.

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