Perhaps, no place is this lack of cooperation more evident than in the South Eastern part of Nigeria. Police there have gone bunkers

All over the world, the primary role of the police is to protect lives and properties and maintain law and order. A society without police could be likened to a Hobbesian state- lawless and ungovernable, where scoundrels and miscreants rule the day.

Universally, reputable police organizations embrace information gathering and cooperation with the public as valuable tools for good police work. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, police continues to alienate itself from the people who would otherwise give them useful information to do a good job. As a result, they become the enemy of the people and make a mockery of their hackneyed slogan that “police is your friend”.

Perhaps, no place is this lack of cooperation more evident than in the South Eastern part of Nigeria. Police there have gone bunkers. The number of police roadblocks and checkpoints on the roads in Igboland today is uncountable. Modestly, there are about a checkpoint at almost every five miles interval.

As these checkpoints multiply, so the abuse, rascality, injustice and oppression of innocent citizens. These checkpoints have become a money minting machine for these officers in an effort to exhort money from road users, innocent citizens at will and hold them for minor infractions. It could also pass for Toll booths. Some of these infractions are laughable. Riding bikes without helmets; no fire extinguisher; no caution triangle; no red cloth affixed at the back of trucks carrying load; driving past the Toll booth without stopping, plus the insulting and annoying, Wetin u carry  question meaning what are you  carrying? Many residents lament how they pay money to pass these tolls on their way to work and pay another upon return. No matter how innocent a road user may claim to be, you are guilty as charged in their court of corruption. Funny enough, these “violations” hardly get to any court of law.

Also from Kenneth Obi how Nigerians Celebrate thieves

Nigerian police is so bold with what they do in Igboland now that they have the effrontery to even give change money for drivers who claim they have no money to pay their way out from them. It is only a matter of time before these officers get their own POS. Trying to correct the excesses of these officers is an exercise in futility. Accosting them is of no effect. They will be quick to lecture you that from their IGP down to rookies take bribes.

In the past, the image of police brought trust, confidence, and gave one some sense of security. That was then. Today, their presence elicit fear, trepidation, oppression and intimidation. They have become more problematic than the problems they supposedly came to solve. Any wonder why some of them are being arrested for armed robbery, kidnapping, murder.

Police in Igboland today have no control. They are lords unto themselves. When they are on the road with their police vehicles, they drive against the traffic for no justifiable reasons or emergency. Some drive without license plates or with covered plates and blow their sirens to harass the quiet public. Most of these police drivers have no drivers’ license themselves.

Our police continues to lie. How many times have we heard from their head office in Abuja that “all the policemen protecting politicians are hereby withdrawn”? Lie. How many times have we heard that “police can no longer use sirens indiscriminately”? Lie. How many times have we heard that “the IGP” meaning the Inspector General of Police “has ordered that all roadblocks and checkpoints dismantled with immediate effect”? Lies. Police continues to feed the Nigerian public with tissues of lies.

It is a sorry spectacle to behold a policeman these days. Uncouth, smelly, shabbily dressed, unkempt and unable to communicate, they speak gutter, foul language of the criminals they are supposed to arrest. Some are drunks and even weed smokers. Government has changed their uniform many times, a move intended to burnish their soiled image, yet they continue to look so ramshackle and downtrodden.Hoods indeed do not make a monk and no matter how clean you wash and beautify a pig, it will still return to the mud to eat dirt and filth.

The first thing that announces the presence of police is begging. These mendicants will be the first to narrate how they received their last salary a year ago. Those who cannot beg, resort to intimidation, quoting laws that are not in the statue all in the bid to exhort money from the helpless public.

Calling Nigerian police to combat crime is a joke. When they hear that robbers are in operation in an area close to their Toll booth, they quickly relocate to another area and continue to collect their toll collections. If confronted by these hoodlums, they take to their heels leaving hapless villagers to their fate. They have no livers. They are out of shape and do not engage in regular exercise. They trudge around their toll booths with their unsightly Michelin-tire pot-belly shape. They have no professional trainings to confront miscreants, armed robbers, hostage takers and assassins, some of who are young and athletic. They cannot run up to a quarter of a mile without fainting or gasping for breath due to years of vitiated, rickety and atrophied bodies.

Asked why they are running away from these hoodlums, their defense is that they cannot die in vain fighting criminals. To make matters worse, the police authorities ration few bullets to these men and women and send them out to fight robbers who have superior firepower than them. Ironically, while police is busy chasing peccadilloes, serious crime such as kidnapping and armed robbery are occurring under their very nose. Is this the kind of police that we should have in 21st century? How do you entrust your dear life to this kind of police?

After years of independence, Nigeria cannot boasts of good police protection. The country remains under-policed. Many of our police men and women are bogged down with protecting politicians, business people or whoever is willing to pay the police heads for their “protection”. This is shameful and outrageous.

There is no way this country can be repaired or restructured with the kind of police we have today. There has to be a better way. We can’t say more But Restructure Nigeria police NOW!

Christian Alert Group, Nigeria Rise Initiative in conjunction with Citizens for Righteousness and Social Justice is the Best way to Go Raising Anti Corruption Crusaders fighting Injustices in a Violent and Immoral Society of Nigeria for a Better Nigeria come 2019.
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