News Analysis

EndSARS Protests and Police Reform

The last few days have been very troubling for the officers and men of the Nigeria police force.

 Never in the history of the police has such criticism been waged against the agency.

The continued protests only indicate one thing, deep-seated resentments against the police.

It also showed that the public has for long, been condemning police misconducts against the citizens.

The ENDSARS protests are just a way through which all the resentments are being expressed by the public (especially the youths).

The foregoing, call for soul searching to overhaul the Nigeria police force.

The police structure has been in existence since the colonial period thus requires a deconstruction with a view to bringing the agency at par with basic fundamental policing principles which among others include, mission-based and people-friendly policing.

Although, the police act of 2020 recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari addressed some fundamental reforms in the police, there are still more to be desired if truly the government want to make the police friendly and proactive.

It is instructive therefore, to address recruitment policies of the force and make university and polytechnic certificates the least entry requirements into the force.

This should also, be complimented with psychological assessments of intending police personnel as it would go a long way to rejig police image and assuage age long public resentments.

 It should also, be made known that true police reforms would not be complete without making the law enforcement community-driven.

The expected reforms should also address welfare and wellness of the officers and rank and file to enhance productivity, as well as reducing bottlenecks which could predispose police personnel to misconducts.

The security agency should look inward with a view to removing the word, force from its appellation.

Of all security and para security outfits in the country, it is only the Nigerian police that have force in its name. Similarly, it is also the only police outfit globally that uses the word force.

In other countries, police agencies use the word, service such as Ghana police service, Lesotho mounted police service and South African police.

Globally, police agencies are going through reforms with a view to making them more proactive, seamless and public-friendly.

This is what modern policing is all about.

The Nigeria police cannot be an exception given the waves of reforms globally.

It remains valid that the use of physical force by the police is only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning are found to be insufficient to obtain public cooperation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore public order.

The minimum degree of force as a last resort should be used only when necessary.

These are basic principles modern police agencies are known for and not brutality. 

Professor Oyesoji Aremu 

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