The Nigeria Police Force, Urgent Reforms Required, By Dipo Awojide
The estimated population of Nigeria stands at 180 million in 2015. This huge population is a blessing in disguise. A large market and productive population is an advantage for any nation. However, we have a shortage in the number of Police Officers across the country. As a developing economy, it is expected that one Police Officer be assigned to at least 25-35 citizens. Perhaps, the current scenario in Nigeria is far from what is expected, with barely 280,000 Police Officers across the country. No Police Force can function effectively with 280,000 Officers in a country of over 180 million people. One has to question the effectiveness of this ratio.
It is expected that the current Nigerian Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will urgently look into improving investment in our Police Force. The Police Force is understaffed, ill-equipped and staff training is not fit for the future. Although we appreciate the efforts currently in place, there is still room for fundamental improvements. Consider a situation where 1,000 police vans are distributed to the entire Police Force in Nigeria. This will be shared among the Police Commands in the 36 States of the country, including Abuja. Lagos State alone has 118 Police Divisions and 13 Area Commands. When we do the maths, 1,000 police vans is like a drop of water in an ocean, literally.
Do we have any insurance injury policies in place for Nigerian Police Officers who become seriously injured while on duty? Do we have life insurance policies for our Police Officers? What happens to their families when they die on active service? These and many more are questions which the Federal Government, the Ministry of Police Affairs and the Police Service Commission must answer. The welfare of our Police Officers is very important. More should be done to appreciate the bravery and dedication of these Officers who put their lives on the line for the rest of us.
The vision of the Nigeria Police Force is “to be a leading national, professional and efficient law enforcement organisation”. However, we cannot shy away from the fact that the Nigeria Police Force still has a culture of inefficiency and corruption. This can be dealt with through training and improving the welfare of the rank and file of the force.
To conclude, the attachment of police officers to politicians and ‘big men’ is a culture that need to be eradicated. This is a culture that needs changing. ‘Big men’ should make an effort to provide their own security. There are loads of fantastic private security outfits across the country which they may patronise.
Dipo Awojide, a BSc Accounting Holder, is the Founder of Ambidextrous Consult Ltd. He obtained an MSc in International Business with Distinction from Coventry University and a PhD in Strategic Management from Loughborough University, UK. Dipo lectures in the UK and tweets via @OgbeniDipo