The capacity of the Nigerian Police Force is currently being overstretched by the insurgency in the North, abuses against ordinary citizens and undermines of the rule of law. According to a report of the Human Rights Watch, Nigerians don’t trust the police; citizens generally have a bad impression of police officers because of their perceived brutality and corruption. Despite the huge budgetary allocation to the force – N311 billion ($1.99 billion) in 2013 – the Nigerian police are haplessly often overpowered by criminals whose activity affects those in high and low places.
At the heart of the problem of the police force is training, there are seven police colleges in Nigeria and new recruits are expected to undergo about 13 months training in these institutes.
However, this video report focuses on the deplorable state of the police college in Ikeja, Lagos.
A Professor of criminology and social sciences at the University of Abuja, Femi Odekunle has described Nigeria as a place where politicians engage in political and economic racketeering for their selfish purposes. Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Odekunle said Nigerians should disregard the comments of ministers and other government, officials, who often say that Nigeria’s macroeconomic indices are growing.
“Of course, nobody would deny that we are growing but the growth is not translating to development. Development has to do with impacting on the socioeconomic and political lives of the average citizen. It has to do with distribution of the dividend of development,” he said.
The professor said the reason why the dividend of development is not getting to the ordinary Nigerian was because of corruption.
“The consequences of the resulting underdevelopment cannot be divorced from our level of insecurity which has been worsening, if you allow me to say, from the 60s to today,” Mr Odekunle said.
A security expert and National Coordinator of the Network on Police Reform, Emeka Nwanevu has said that the opaque processes by which Inspectors-General of Police are appointed, the absence of secured tenure for those that occupy that office and high turnover in the leadership of the police make planning for improvements in the performance of the force rather difficult in Nigeria.
Mr Nwanevu, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said the lack of security of tenure for the Police Inspector General as well as interference of politicians into the operations of the police make the position of IGP one of the most unstable leadership positions in the country.
He said since the President was the one who can hire and fire the IGP; he has enormous power to control the activities of the police boss. “An Inspector General cannot flaunt the orders of the person who appoints him,” Mr Nwanevu said.
The security expert is calling for the amendment of Section 215(1) of the Nigerian Constitution which provides that the IGP “shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Police Council from amongst serving members of the Nigeria Police Force.”
A lawyer and member of the Crusade for Justice, Richard Nwankwo has described the efforts by the leadership of Nigeria in fighting corruption as superficial and designed to achieve nothing. Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Nwankwo said the present leaders in the country lack the political will and determination to conduct a genuine crusade against corruption in Nigeria.
“When you are fighting corruption from the general point of view, the leadership must show some measure of political will and determination and some measure of drive to demonstrate to everybody that actually there is a massive campaign against corruption and that is clearly not been done here,” he said.