An unknown author writes and I quote,

“Every job is a self portrait of the person who does it. Autograph your work with excellence”.

This presupposes the importance of performing one’s job to the point where, if anyone made any reference to such an individual, it would be a resonance of plaudits and encomiums. This seems to be a far cry from what repeatedly emanates from the Nigeria Police end of our country’s security operatives.

In rudimentary statement of fact, the nation’s constitution has it, that the Internal ‘Stamina’ of the country is the primary and I dare say secondary responsibilities of the Men in Black and Blue. It is however over-flogged; that having police officers manage certain security positions has become a no-no. As one ruminates on this, it may not be an entire undoing of the police, but then, what has the police as a body done, to ensure that it sanitizes its own system.

Boko Haram has become a global phenomenon from the series of attacks on the homefront to its wide-spread alliance. The travails left on its trail of vicious attacks seem to have gone beyond what the police force in the country can handle. Not by lack of ammunition, but by the perceived and obvious incapability ingrained and in exhibition when it comes to battling crimes. It seems to bask in the ineptitude of corrupt freebies than conscientious commitment to its cause.

The saying is common, that when a soldier slaps you, you will immediately make the police your friend even if the police personnel had initially warmed your face with forceful slap. It is a joke no doubt, but you do not make legends of security operatives, even if jokingly, had they not left some forms of impact in the everyday consciousness of people. This is why now is the time, for the internal re-invention of Nigeria’s believable bulwarks.

Medically, any man who lacks ‘testicles’ is obviously left for dead, because the seeds which give life to the carrier is never going to be produced. In similar vein, the ‘testicle metaphor’ alludes to the dutiful character of the policeman and expected altruism in service to one’s motherland. Apart from being a nation that is under-staffed in terms of the number of police to individuals, majority of the number of those who are in the ‘force’ are unarguably ‘forceless’.

On a first note, why would any police officer sit with people at a bar in his uniform, with a gun in hand as he drinks away in shameless carelessness? It may suffice to refer to the forgoing as rhetoric, but the kind of orientation they get is also very important. If, during recruitment they are sternly warned and some are severely disciplined, others would sit up having seen that there are dire punitive measures. How easy would it have been if some of those at the helm could lead exemplary lives, but it is a tall order because many of them are products are a skewed system.

Another shocking instance is how those who should protect Nigerians are best of friends with bus stop touts. For benefit of the doubt, go to motor parks and witness how these officers befriend touts, using them to collect pittance from bus drivers and their conductors. In the event of upholding the law, it becomes difficult to aid the observance of the law as they have been collaborators in dissidence.

Furthermore, the blatant disregard for the law that they have been made guardians of beats one’s imagination. Traffic Light indicators come to mind here. When civilians are patiently waiting to be given the green, police officers would often zoom-pass, as their colleagues wave them byes, thus sanctioning the non-compliance to the traffic regulation. How else could one demonstrate some dent to its responsibility psyche than this? The keepers of the law who operate as the violators of same law that should have been protected, obviously denotes a genetic anomaly that may be peculiar to Nigerians.

On the other side of the divide, the government appears to operate a consciousness of gross ignorance cum incompetence; or a diabolism which affords them the pleasure of dystopia, as well all forms of incongruence. A foremost television station showed a documentary a couple of years back about the Police College in Ikeja and revelations about the ‘pigsty’ of a hostel leave tears rolling. It is not just possible to graduate from the college and not seek ways to ‘make money’, particularly if such a person had paid his/her way through. Poverty leads to many vices and one of those is trying to make ends meet however possible.

The recent police recruitment exercise also indicates that Nigeria may not have started the journey to ‘utopia’. The number and nature of those who want to become implementers of the nation’s laws is staggering, while their motivation could be deciphered as perceptively crooked, joblessness is another drive to get enlisted into the police force, rather than the intention to help in building a strong and virile country.

What I have written may not be new, but a thing or two could serve as reminders when it comes to The Nigeria Police Force. Government must ensure it properly funds its arm of the executive, so as to place an unalloyed demand of commitment rather than half measures. The state governors should not be left to be the caretakers of a federal police. The conditions for joining the force must also be re-visited, rather than maintain status quo ante, where criminals who can bribe their way into becoming police officers have a field day, thus further unsettling the society.

At least, let The Nigeria Police Force exert force against all forms of criminality, so as to get its ‘Testicles’ back and fully functional.

Adeniyi Taiwo Kunnu writes from Lagos.

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