Opinion: Our police, their maids

Something that has become an extremely alarming issue is the extent at which officers saddled with the responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of Nigerians, have been reduced to mere bag carriers, drivers, suya-buyers amongst other domestic chores of ‘big-politician’ and even powerful internet fraudsters popularly referred to as ‘yahoo-boys’ in Nigeria.

The men in black as they as fondly referred to, appear to most Nigerians as elements of fear due to their frequent unsolicited acts of brutality and oppression, but to the political elites and ‘top-politicians’, they remain nothing but domestic maids. An increasing trend that Nigerians have been made to bear the brunt and consequences.

The Nigerian Police Force is designated by section 194 of the 1979 constitution as the only national police in Nigeria with exclusive jurisdiction throughout the country.

Section 4 of the police Act and Regulations spells out the duties of the Nigerian police force as follows: the prevention and detection of crime, apprehension of offenders, preservation of law and order, protection of life and property, the due enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are directly charged, performance of military duties within or without Nigeria as may be required by law.

However, a recurring decimal that has over the time plagued the Nigerian society, has been the extent at which these police officers have undertaken the latent function of functioning as ‘maids’ of ‘top-politicians’.

Perhaps, a pertinent question to ask is, what qualifies an unelected politician to be referred to as a ‘top-politician’? Money or connection may be answers that easily come to mind.

Back to the issue at hand, the police has been reduced to a ‘mere-commodity’ that can be bought over by a rich /wealthy individual. These rich individuals who hold no political office, but rather have the necessary connections or appropriate button to push, have retinue of police officers at their disposal who basically satisfy their domestic needs.

Little wonder the top echelon of the force has consistently cried foul of shortage of manpower. One may not be wrong to conclude that even with the current low-manpower within the arsenal of the Nigerian police, a large chunk of officers deployment has gone to the supposed ‘big-politicians’ or hitherto rich Nigerians that have the financial muscle to pay for their services.

In an effort to salvage the increasing degradation in the efficiency of the Nigerian Police Force, the Inspector General of police, Solomon Arase, about two weeks ago stated that the force had concluded plans to reduce the number of officers allocated to the “big-politicians”.

This together with improved legislation on police personnel placement and increased financial incentives for personnel within the force, will bring about the desired change.

Also, the current recruitment in the force should not be seen as an opportunity for ‘big-politicians’ to increase their domestic workforce.

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Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Joshua Akintayo writes from Ibadan, can be reached via @d_special_josh

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