The Average Nigerian Police Officer Is A Thief, Poorly Trained And Very Corrupt In The Line Of Duty.
Malnutrition, Mental Instability, Poor Living Condition, Government's Neglect and Dysfunctional Federal System of Government, Ban of Police Brutality and Policemen's Performance in Nigeria, By David Adenekan.
Another eye to the incessant police brutality and poor performance in Nigeria, is that, the average police officer suffer from malnutrition, mental instability, poor training, corruption and poor living conditions.
One will found it ironic to expect good performance from Nigeria police officers. "You cannot eat your cake and have it too" Also, "as you lay your bed so shall you lie on it".
Yes, to the many critics of Nigeria police officers, they are very corrupt and even worst than armed robbers. They are often accused of brutality and jungle justice in the line of their duties. In fact, the level of impunity and inhuman treatment meted out to many innocent citizens by the so called police officers cannot be over emphasised.
Also, the writer of this piece will not hesitate to unequivocally affirmed that the average police officer is a thief, poorly trained and very corrupt in the line of duties. This is my honest assessment based on my terrible experience with the Nigeria police officers growing up in the city of Lagos.
A brief narrative of one of my ugly encounters, is that, about thirty five years ago, myself and a distance cousin were arrested in front of our family house and we were incarcerated for two days without trial for an alleged battery and assault crime that we did not commit. The so called assault was actually committed by a son of one of the tenants that was living in our family house at a time.
It was truly a reckless violation of our fundamental human rights as subsumed under the principle of habeas corpus that clearly stated that nobody should be detained for more than twenty four hours without trial by the court of law.
Also, it was a terrible experience as we were being tortured and went without food for two days before my most senior brother of blessed memory came to our rescued and we were released. Our freedom from detention was not without a bribe.
This is just one out of my many experiences with police officers in Nigeria; and for many years, my disposition towards Nigeria police officers had been that of criminals in police uniform.
However, it never occurred to me to evaluate the many factors that might be precipitating the unholy behaviors of the average police officer in Nigeria, until I recently realized that the uncharitable treatments of the Nigeria police officers by the Nigeria government and coupled with the dysfunctional federal system of government set the Nigeria police officer for failure from the day he started his training at the police College.
One, the deteriorating condition and poor welfare of the young cadets as trending in the news and social media is the expected result of what the society will get from many police officers in the line of duties. Why should Nigerians hope for anything better from a police officer? This is because right from the beginning, the inhuman treatment they get from the police hierarchy already set them up for failure.
Suffice to say that one of the fundamental requirements of building a strong police force is providing good nutritions that will enhance their mental and physical abilities, in order for them to be physically and psychologically ready for the herculean tasks ahead of them in a society like Nigeria, that is, ridden with violence, crimes like banditry, armed robbery, terrorism, abduction, rapes, advanced frauds (419), internet scams and unabated rising surge of insurgents. This is just to mention but a few.
Moreover, It is medically proven that good nutrition is a function of human brain and for our government to allow the training of her cadets at the Police College on a very poor meal (mal nutrition) is not only counter productive but very absurd.
Furthermore, it is not surprising, why the poor living conditions of police officers in Nigeria make him or her prone and addicted to bribery and corruption. This is because police officers are human beings like every citizen and have basic needs that they have to meet to survive.
Alas, a critical look at the Nigerian police's barracks all over the country confirmed the deteriorating living conditions of the Nigeria police officers.
A dilapidated buildings, poor ventilation, hazardous buildings, bad toilets, garbage heaps, over crowded, water pollution and poor drainage system are the common features of Nigerian police's barracks. This is coupled with poor salary structure that cannot meet their basic needs. Are these not strong indications of wickedness and callousness of every successive government in Nigeria since the so called independence?
How do we now nip in the bud these ugly trends, if truly we desire to build a strong and professional police service in the face of corruption, government's Neglect and dysfunctional federal system of government?
Moreover, the unfortunate image of the Nigeria police colleges and dilapidated barracks are miniature reflections of social degradation and abject poverty that every Nigeria government had for a long time foist on the vast majority of her citizens. It was no longer a news that Nigeria made an unprecedented history on the world poverty index when the country sadly became the second largest extreme poor people in the world.
In addition, how do we avail our young police officers for good training when the overall living condition is not desirable? The long aged colonial uses of force and torture remain the tactic and weapon to fight crimes by Nigeria police officers in a digital age. Many Nigeria police officers are trigger happy, and ready to shoot at a slightest provocation because they are not properly trained that you do not kill a citizen you are paid to protect unless for obvious life threatening self defense.
Also, their trainings, mental health and psychological development have been grossly compromised by malnutrition and poor living condition.
Moreover, the issue of corruption has eaten dip into the fabric of our society that the Nigeria police service is now the epitome of institutionalised corruption. The command structure is highly corrupt and this has resulted into poor training of police officers. The money budgeted for recruitment and training is mostly siphoned by the hierarchy of police: a case study of Tafa Balogun (former Inspector General of police under President Olusegun Okanlawon Mathew Obasanjo) who stole and buried in the ground billions of naira that was meant for training, equipment and welfare of Nigeria police officers.
Yes, "if the head is rotten, the body it's a stench". It is not a doubt that corruption in Nigeria police service is now a norm. Corruption is the bye product of poor management and dysfunctional federal system of government.
In the final analysis, the highly centralized police command has already stretched the numerical strengths and abilities of police officers in Nigeria far beyond their limits. It is very insane to think the current Nigeria police service has the personnel, equipment and training facilities to provide security and protection for population of more than two hundred millions people in the 21st century.
It should also be noted that Nigeria is the only country in the world that has a centralized police service in a supposedly federal system of government. Does commonsense not dictate that such a system will be ineffective, corruptible and compromised?
At this juncture, may I logically submit that the disbandment of SARS or SWAT will not fix the problem in Nigeria police service unless there is a real devolution of powers and functions among the federating units; and we must allow every region or state to run and control their own police service without prejudice.
Suffice to say that the current protest against police brutality in Nigeria is just the beginning of the end of the contraption called Nigeria, if there is no urgent concerted efforts to revert to the 1963 constitution, when there was regional autonomy viz a viz resources control.
Albeit the fact that its already getting too late to pull the country from the brink of collapse because President Mohammed Buhari lack the political will to save the country from political precipice. Who will trust an ethnic chauvinist and religious bigotry to save and restructure the contraption called Nigeria?
Yes, President Mohammed Buhari has lost the steam and the country is drifting very fast into disintegration. Truth be told.
Frankly speaking, Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder that may explode very soon.
Only, time will tell.
- Public News
- Written by:
- David Adenekan writes from Chicago, Illinois.
- 16 Oct, 2020
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