Part One Review: The part one looked at the foundation of entry into the Police Force called Recruitment. It reviewed the processes, types of practical methods, scandals and made recommendations. The current dilemma of the Force in areas of corruption, inefficiency, human right abuses and accidental discharges were traced to faulty recruitments.
This series is going to focus on Training.
WHAT IS TRAINING?
Training could be defined as the practical and organized conscious act of teaching a person, group of person or animals a specific skill or acceptable behavioral pattern.
Wikipedia described Training as teaching, or developing in oneself or others, any skill and knowledge or fitness that relate to specific useful competences. It went further to mention the specific goals as building: capacity, capability, productivity, performance and character (my addition). After recruitment in any serious-minded organization, the next thing will be Training. It is an orientation period to introduce the intakes into the character, conducts and culture of an organization. It shapes the mindset of the Trainees and debrief them of their old mentality that may work against the overall objective of the system. Acceptance in training doesn’t guarantee automatic employment as it is also a further screening ground. Those found incompetent, fraudulent and untrainable are sent home.
NIGERIA POLICE FORCE AND TRAINING:
The Training environment is a dedicated space that houses three major components that are key to the objectives of Training. This segment will be divided into three and comprises of the following components:
1. The Trainers
2. The Trainees
3. The Training Facilities.
This section won’t bother going into the departmental structures of the Force but I must say that the structure is very standard and that the TRAINING and DEVELOPMENT is a busy department always headed by very senior officers. It is equally needless delving into the teaching or academic content of Training as that’s not the problem. It is also in public domain that the Force has Academy, Staff College, Police Colleges and Training Schools numbering about 22. These are where recruits and officers are Trained and Retrained. This series will limit to where our Constables are trained called Police Colleges and Police Training schools numbering about 19 and I have been privileged to be in 16 scattered across the country out of the 19 between the years 2017 and 2019.
This is made up of the Commandants, teaching and non-teaching staff. It’s usually headed by the Commandants. This is a set of largely demotivated staff both in interactions and presentations. Most of them are willing to give their best but lack necessary tools and motivation to do just that. A good number sees their posting to Academic environment as punishments for whatsoever reasons. They feel abandoned and forgotten mostly in suburbs where the schools are located. They largely present pictures of frustrations with hope and expectations of not remaining there for long. They complain and cry of bad working environment (which is true) but will never complain openly to the authorities. They are held captive in thoughts and will prefer to mark time pending when they will leave. Some view posting to Training schools as a taste of retirement before retirement. Over some periods, they are idle and hardly see action in training as to who to train.
Majority lack good or decent accommodation to live that can afford them the comfort of reading and preparing lectures that will impact on the trainees. It is a truism that you can’t give what you don’t have. The quality of teaching is determined by the preparation that goes into it. The quality of teaching is also the direct function of materials and contents at the disposal of the Teacher. How much of exposure do they receive in terms of refresher courses in preparation for Training the Trainees. I remember someone sharing a story of being in the office of a Commandant in a Training School in Southsouth Nigeria when it was raining and the rain mercilessly soaked and decorated them inside that office while the Commandant was helpless and full of apologies for the embarrassment, almost crying that he had complained severally but help was nowhere to be seen. In that instance, the visitor’s lot was to console him while reminding him that he was investing in humanity.
Their pains and frustrations are visible. Part of the frustration induced factors comes from quality of the Trainees sent to them and the Training environment. The interaction of these variables defines the quality of the Trainees been churned out to the society.
To harness the best potential of these staff facilitating and molding the character of our recruits, the following suggestions could help: the Force should
a. Make teaching in these Education facilities more lucrative and special;
b. Officers posted to Education centers must receive special teaching allowances;
c. The teachers must be regularly trained and retrained to keep abreast of techniques
d. There must be a better modern system of teachings and interactions with access to internet and other aids.
e. The teaching staff should have access to research grants to better themselves.
f. Special car loans should be granted to them as part of incentives. They deserve it.
g. Authors, local authors that supply teaching materials to the schools should be encouraged to make appearances at various schools to engage and encourage both trainers and trainees.
The Trainees are the applicants recruited to be trained as Police officers at various Training Schools and Colleges. Refer to Part One of the series to know the composition of the Trainees and Recruitment Constituencies they represent. Their percentage will ultimately picturize how orderly, peaceful and coordinated the Schools will be. They are meant to be coached, taught, accessed physically, mentally, academically and psychologically both in character and learning before being released to the society as Security men.
Some of the Trainees are truants and full of themselves because of where they are coming from. They boldly threaten some Trainers by reporting them through phone calls at will because of the people outside playing surugede drums for them. How can you compel a Trainee that neither went for screening nor wrote exam and proud candidate coming from NASS, VILLA or Minister’s list? They appear to be above the law. They violate camp rules by not fully participating in trainings. Some have arrangements of leaving camps in the evening for other comfort areas and coming back in the morning. This is more pronounced in some environments without proper access controls like gates and fence. Most Colleges are in this category.
The learning environment of most Training schools and Colleges are highly deplorable, pitiable and unacceptable. Some are unimaginable that if you see it, then we will stop blaming the recruits for some of their acts. Some of the schools’ lack functional and trainable auditoriums. Some auditoriums pride in leaking roofs such that when it starts raining in the day, the attention of Trainees is divided between the leaking classroom lectures and exposed dormitories with broken louvre glasses affecting their properties. At that point the classes become rowdy and lectures inaudible because there’s no functional public-address system. Some of the locations lack functional amenities like light, running taps, good toilet system among others.
The Trainees are certainly angry with the system that produces them. They don’t feel loved and wanted. They want to shut their eyes, open it and get out of the cage that trapped them. They prepare their minds ahead in different dimensions before passing out on how to give back to the society and government that was not interested in their training wellbeing. They can’t give what they don’t have and so we don’t expect the trainees to be better than their trainers and Training arena. The unfriendlier ambience of majority of our Training grounds is best referred to as scams.
3. TRAINING FACILITIES
The Training Facilities will be limited to what should be core items excluding arms Training which is not part of this work. They include and limited to:
Accommodation or dormitories
IT Facility/ Libraries
Functional Toilet system
Fire hydrant points etc
The only school that meets most of the above criteria is Police College Kaduna maybe because there is visible corporate organization presence in the environment. The ambience, neat structures and availability of some tools is commendable. They need to upgrade some facilities. A trip to Police College Ikeja by a stranger doesn’t show any proof of former President Goodluck Jonathan intervention in that college few years back. Everything has collapsed. The environment is back to usual business and not fit for a college. The worst is Police College Oji river. It is in sorry state. Nothing from access gate, internal roads, structures, roofs, environment tells a true story of a functional college. It is really begging for attention. Apart from some newly constructed Training Schools like Owerri, Iperu that still has functional facilities others are in agonizing shape. Nowa Tai, Odukpani, Benin etc need immediate rehabilitation. Makurdi that is exclusively located need upgrade. Ibadan need repairs or relocation entirely. Some doesn’t even have fence to ensure proper access control. Majority of the schools lack bed and beddings and so it reduces and haunt the Trainees minds. It builds up anger against the society they are meant to protect. Majority of the Training schools lack cleaners and mowing machines hence the burden of taking care of the environment falls on Trainees, eating into their productive time that shouldn’t be. The schools need functional and well maintained public address system to aid tutorials as well. The Nigeria State can replicate and recreate world-class security Training Schools and Colleges that should be the pride of Nigeria.
All the facilities in our Training Schools need urgent government attention. Legislators, Governments and Nigerians should know that the Police everyone is complaining and blaming is a product of dysfunctional system. The complains are just manifestation of our neglects and ineptitude.
The Inspector General of Police and his Team cannot bear the blames if funds were not budgeted and appropriated for such undertakings unless someone can show Nigerians to the contrary that money was released but misappropriated. It’s a misfortune current IGP inherited just like his predecessors. At a point feeding was said to be an issue such that Trainees were not properly fed by the contractors owing to delayed payments. The Trainees bear the brunt of this anomalies.
The following are some solutions that could help in addressing the identified issues:
1. The Committee for Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act as passed if constituted should be structured in such a way that it will have wide representations and presence across Regions overseeing the wellbeing of the Training Schools and Colleges.
2. The Committee should set target and areas of quick wins for rehabilitation.
3. Facilities in all Training Schools and Colleges must be upgraded.
4. Teaching aids must be provided.
5. Trainees should not be rushed to Camps if the Police Institutions are not ready to accept them.
6. Trainers must be well motivated with an entirely different salary scales.
7. Corporate organizations should take up responsibility of maintaining structures in Schools like First Bank in Police College Kaduna.
8. State governments where the schools are located should show interest in its maintenance. A Commandant once narrated his frustration in getting a State Governor fulfil his promise of fencing and water made to his Training School when they paid him a courtesy call.
9. The schools can also be upgraded to offer part time programs round the year and such funds will be deployed to enhance the standard of the Colleges and staff.
10. The Trainees could start thinking of forming Alumni Associations with a view to giving back to the environment that produced them.
In summary, this part two is a special session that is mutually inclusive. No part must be left unattended to but must be together to produce desired results. One of the greatest achievement of Police Institution will be to erase the mentality that posting to academic or capacity building unit is a punishment. If the suggestions are implemented, officers will be lobbying for posting to Training School and Colleges and that will really confirm that the tide has turned for good…..for good of Trainers, for good of Trainees and for good of Nigerians because we shall witness natural drop in corruption, extortions and accidental discharges.
When we effectively handle training, the mentality of some that entered through skewed means could be patriotically changed to bear true allegiance to Nigeria than their facilitators. We can’t make progress with controversial recruits trained in inhabitable environment and expect miracles.
Mazi Agodi KANU is a writer, author and Security Consultant and writes from Lagos Nigeria.
Enquiries: 09099999632 or firstname.lastname@example.org.