Lie Detector Tests are good for the Police Force but before we get too excited…

by Tolu Omoyeni

News making rounds is that the Nigerian Police Force is introducing a lie detecting test in its current recruitment process. The announcement was made yesterday in a press release addressing the ongoing recruitment of 10,000 freshmen into the force.

The polygraph (lie detector) is one of the series of tests that candidates will be made to pass through in the process. This is new in Nigeria and without a doubt, a welcome development if we get it right. In the US, polygraph tests are a very crucial part of the recruitment process into the FBI and the CIA. We applaud the efforts of the Nigerian Police Force to take productive lessons from their foreign counterparts. But we cannot ignore the fact that this might be another trial and error, which is an inherent Nigerian factor that exists in all sectors.

In a country where government organizations are clearly very behind on technology, no one has told us how the Nigerian Police Force intends to make this work. There are many questions we would like the authorities of the force to answer regarding this laudable yet suspicious leap.

– How many lie detector machines do we have in the country or have been ordered to be imported in?

-Is there an ongoing or forthcoming training for individuals who will conduct these tests? Or does the machine just work by itself? At least someone has to read the results. Do we know who these people are and how enlightened they are about handling such tests?

-Does the Nigerian Police Force have the personnel required to carry out this seemingly cumbersome recruitment process? Or how much of candidates’ time will be wasted yet again?

-Have we worked on our maintenance culture as a country at all? We bet that these machines will be left to gather dust and rot after the entire process and someone will include new purchase in the next budget.

If these questions cannot be answered convincingly, then it would suffice to say that we are not ready for a lie detector test.

Let’s cast our minds back to the election period and how the electronic voting system that was adopted at the time failed in many voting centres. Voters were made to wait longer than usual and the entire process was faced with significant delay. As utterly embarrassing as it sounds, it’s like this e-thing is not just for us yet.

On the flipside, why do these young and probably innocent minds who are just starting out to make careers for themselves have to be subjected to this test. As if we all do not know that a lie detecting test process should begin at the very top of the leadership pyramid. We’d like to watch how our senators, ministers, governors and their likes will fair if put to the test. Oh, and the looters too.

Lie detector tests are very welcome but we hope the Nigerian Police will not reserve it to recruitment alone.

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