Wednesday 24th May, 2017
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Re: Tufiakwa to IG's Men

Re: Tufiakwa to IG's Men

I was excited to read a courageous piece written by the South East Bureau Chief of The AUTHORITY newspa­pers, Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, titled, “Tu­fiakwa to IG’s men…”

In the piece, he made effort to x-ray the ills going on within the Ni­gerian Police Force. He highlighted certain cor­rupt practices and hu­man right abuses per­petrated by the police on daily basis unending.

However, Odogwu’s piece dwelt majorly on the misconducts of the rank and files, and did not give in-depth overview of executive sins committed by officers in the force.

In the shadows, high-level police officials em­bezzle staggering sums of public funds meant to cover basic police operations. Senior po­lice officers also en­force a perverse system of “returns” in which rank-and-file officers are compelled to pay up the chain of command a share of the money they extort from the public.

Those charged with po­lice oversight, discipline, and reform have for years failed to take effective ac­tion, thereby, reinforcing impunity for police offic­ers of all ranks, who reg­ularly perpetrate crimes against the citizens they are mandated to protect.

The Nigeria Police Force, established in 1930, has a long his­tory of engaging in un­professional, corrupt, and criminal conduct. Over the years, this un­wieldy force—Africa’s largest—has proved dif­ficult to effectively man­age and control and has become largely unac­countable to the citi­zens it is meant to serve.

Ordinary Nigerians are further denied equal pro­tection under the law due to a widespread practice whereby senior police of­ficers sell for their own personal enrichment, police protection to Ni­geria’s wealthy elite. By the Inspector General of Police’s own account, in 2009, at least 100,000 po­lice officers were work­ing as personal guards for the wealthy, at the expense of the majority.

For many Nigerians, the police force has ut­terly failed to fulfil its mandate of providing public security. Indeed, 80 years after its birth, members of the force are viewed more as preda­tors than protectors, and the Nigeria Police Force has become a symbol in Nigeria of unfettered corruption, misman­agement, and abuse.

In addition, the abject failure of the police to provide for the security of ordinary citizens has led some communities to turn for protection to armed vigilante groups who often operate out­side the law and commit further abuses. Police corruption affects nearly every Nigerian, though it disproportionately impacts Nigeria’s poor.

The Nigerian govern­ment and the police lead­ership have on multiple occasions acknowledged many of the problems de­scribed in this report. In recent years, the govern­ment has launched sev­eral police reform initia­tives, increased funding to the police force, and improved police wages. Yet, the government has generally failed to hold accountable police of­ficers who squander and steal police funds, much less the rank-and-file who commit abuses.

We shall stop here. In subsequent edition of the CORNUCOPIA, we shall suggest modali­ties to stem the increas­ing problems of police mischief in Nigeria.

Views of MOKWUG­WO SOLOMON, a staff of the Authority News­paper as a reaction to last week’s piece on po­lice extortion for Tinted Glass permit amongst others unbecoming.

 

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