News Analysis

The Need to Restructure the Nigeria Police

Police evolution in Nigeria started in Lagos colony in 1861 with a thirty unit known as ‘consular guard’ followed by two hundred member unit of armed paramilitary Hausa constabulary in 1879, the Niger coast constabulary in 1894 in Calabar under the Coast Protectorate.

Even after amalgamation in 1914, the nation did not have a unified police until 1930 when it was pronounced the Nigeria Police Force.

At independence, especially the first republic, Nigeria Police functioned on regional basis before its transformation.

Police personnel commanded respects and authority from members of the public and the nation’s leaders in the first three decades of the post-independence era and during the colonial era.

The Nigeria Police is constitutionally empowered to handle general internal security duties, to support sister agencies, and to perform military duties within and outside the country as may be directed.

In present day Nigeria, the police harbours the good, the bad and the ugly, while there are few good and dedicated personnel in its rank and file, the bad and the ugly are a large percentage in the workforce of Nigeria Police.

Today, policemen in mufti, looking unkempt, carry firearms without caution on the streets of the country, or what do we say of some policemen who illegally arrested innocent members of the public, extorted money from them, disposed them of their valuables such as phones, jewelleries or even threatened to kill any civilian who tried to prove stubborn to them.

Also, policemen have taken over some motor parks, where they collect illegal levies from commercial motorists, and even went to an extent of writing numbers of the commercial vehicles whose drivers had paid them this illegal levy.

These are just few of atrocities being committed by policemen across the country and if urgent steps are not taken, it might go out of control.

The Federal Government, Police Service Commission and Inspector General of Police must ensure that only qualified Nigerians with good records and recruited into the Nigeria Police Force.

No doubt, there are bad eggs already in the system, the Federal Government should as a matter of urgency, set up a committee to look into how redeeming the bad image of the Nigeria Police could be implemented without fear or favour.

The recruitment of unqualified personnel into the force has been one of the causes of the disastrous image of the Nigeria Police and bane of insecurity in the country.

Also, the Nigeria Police Force needs to undergo a surgical operation, and the first step is in the creation of state police. Though, there are fears that governors will abuse state police, which is very possible, but many state governments are funding the police in their states through provision of vehicles and logistics.

There are so many unresolved murders and assassinations of both high profile Nigerians.

The only issue of concern for foreign investors and that of some Nigerians in the diaspora, who wish to come to start businesses, is security of life and property.

The Nigeria Police Force is grossly underfunded, and the Federal Government, as a matter of priority, should budget more allocations to it.

If security of lives is guaranteed, there would be influx of people and investments to the country, which will boost the socio-economic situation of the country, therefore the time to restructure Nigeria Police force is now.

Olaoluwa Fawole

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