Crime

What is the job of the police? /Ahmed Magem

Nigeria will remain insecure until senior police officers are prosecuted and jailed for dereliction of duty. Dapchi is an LGA headquarters with police divisions to provide security to citizens. Yet, a band of terrorists will raid a boarding school, fire gun shots, abduct 105 students, load them onto trucks, and vanish without a trace – with the police nowhere in sight. Yet the police shamelessly denies responsibility and blames the army.

If that happened in civilized societies, I have no doubt the Yobe State Police Commissioner and his DPOs will be sacked and prosecuted for negligence. But who will sack them here? A Police Service Commission filled with former policemen? Or the IGP who assigns policemen to guard VIPs while arsonists and murderers ransack entire villages unchallenged?

Whether it is Logo in Benue, Omoku in Rivers, or Maru in Zamfara, inadequate policing is the main cause of Nigeria’s rampant insecurity. Sadly, I don’t see a quick end to it. My countrymen – even those who should know better – believe the police has no role in ensuring public safety since Nigeria is at war with Boko Haram, and it is soldiers that fight wars, not the police.

So, to tackle kidnappers in Ikorodu, we send soldiers for what is clearly police work. Communal clashes, we send soldiers. Banditry in Zamfara, soldiers. Oil theft in Okrika, soldiers. Meanwhile, soldiers are already at the frontline in Sambisa and Dikwa axis. What, then, is the job of the police, if I may ask? Guarding politicians and extorting money on highway checkpoints? We should then amend the police act to reflect that reality.

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