6334reporters’ Editorial Team.
Nigeria is facing serious security challenge, especially in the Northern part of the country. Aside the sporadic attacks on soft targets by the Boko Haram criminal sect, unidentified armed groups and other gun- toting criminals have created anxiety and fears in the north, from Zamfara to Kaduna, Abuja, Jos and Adamawa, making routine travels a perilous venture given spate of killings on our roads by these criminal gangs, yet, the police have not been able to get a handle on the situation.
Daily, we are inundated with reports of incessant killings and kidnappings of innocent commuters and travellers on Kaduna- Abuja road. This has been going on for more than ten months , in spite of claims by police of increased policing and patrol of the stretch of road.
Same can be said of Kaduna-Kano road , Lokoja- Abuja road, Akure- Ibadan road, Birnin Gwari- Mokwa road and Bauchi- Yola road.
Recently, there has been spate of serial killings in Akwa Ibom state . A couple of days ago, Udo Ekpenyong, a commissioner for local government and chieftaincy matters in the state had his house ransacked by gun men who killed her sister.
In Zamfara, there has been an avalanche of killings especially in the rural communities , same can be said of Adamawa, Taraba and Jos and Benue, where the Fulani Herdsmen have intensified their attacks on farmers and indigenes with impunity.
All over the country, Nigerians live in the fear of kidnappers’ menace, and rising cultism among the urban poor in many inner cities from Lagos to Kano, from Port Harcourt to Benue.
The sad fact is that many of these criminal gangs and individuals are known to the police, yet ,they are neither arrested nor questioned for their crimes against innocent Nigerians because of their political affiliation.
Just yesterday, the Senate discussed the issue of growing insecurity in the land, and unanimously expressed displeasure at inability of the police to be on top of the situation.
In their deliberation, many senators called for a revisit of the state policy issue.
In the view of this newspaper, the issue of state policy is lazy ,and shows that our lawmakers lack rigour in their deliberation. If insecurity has taken over the land, and the issue of banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism and other crimes have deepened, the question we should ask is : whose responsibility to fight crime in the society? We all is the responsibility of the police. As it is presently constituted , can the police deliver on this mandate, with underfunding, indiscipline, impunity, lack of oversight to monitor the police, welfare issues, training deficit and official corruption with its rank and file?
As it is presently constituted, we can not get efficiency, productivity and better result from a fractured, dysfunctional police.
We are convinced that the present structure of the police can not bring good result , because the core pillars that determine good policing are lacking .
These are people, process, policy and platform. Unless we get this right, we should not expect to get better policing in the country, because the current structure is dysfunctional, and not made for efficiency.
There is absence of police- people relation, and its the cordiality of this that can produce good result.
We need to look into the process of recruitment of both the officers, ranks and file. There is no rigour in the recruitment process, that will take into consideration the past history of those to be recruited, which will involve looking into their education, family, village, and they must be guaranteed by the head of their family, among others.
And such recruitment must involve experts on behaviour psychology. There is a need to monitor police budget, and such budget should address training, welfare , accommodation and incentives.
There must be a body made up of civil society, people of integrity in the society and traditional rulers to act as oversight for the police to work hand in hand with the police service to end impunity , extra judicial killing, monitoring of police budget,indiscipline warts and all.
This body should ensure adequate welfare for the ranks and file, accommodation, education for children of police ranks and file, decent living, equipment , insurance and training.
Unless there is a holistic reforms along the line mentioned above, it will be difficult to get the kind of police that will add values ,and be combat ready to tackle crimes.
Part of the problem of the Force is the policy somersaults by successive Inspectors- General of Police.
This has created dysfunction in the system, lack of continuity, and some of the policies are not thought through.
We are not mature for state police because of our politics of brinkmanship, where by state governors can easily turn the state police against political opponents and perceived opposition.
What we need is a holistic reforms. This newspaper will advise that the National Assembly concentrate on building police institution along the lines canvassed above.