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By Prince Charles Dickson PhD

The Indians have a proverb which literally means “Your future does not depend on the lines of your hands because people who have no hands also have a future”.

Often people ask me why I write all the time about certain topics and issues, like bashing governments at all levels and the bunch of “confusionists” who run them, my views on the education sector, health and electricity, insecurity, lack or non-existent governance, arguments on ethnicity and the indigenous question among others.

My response is that I do so because I believe these topics are important to Nigeria and Nigerians as they are to other nations, but when it seems to me that Nigerians and our leaders in particular are not reacting to these topics as they should, I repeat in new essays to remind old readers and recruit new ones to participate in the ongoing dialogue.

Between 1999 and today, the police force has grown from 112,000 to around 371,800 officers, a very small figure compared to our population, even if you recruit 10 million men into the police force and with almost 100 millions of starving, unemployed, frustrated Nigerians, crime would still be high, and if you add to the fact that many police officers and a few women there are examples of all that is bad and ugly in Nigeria, I need rest my case because in a system where a police recruit would barely earn N9,019.42 and N302 970.47 for a full commissioner, there would be different versions of Abba Kyari.

Unfortunately, the police themselves are one of the worst culprits of poor pay and motivation, have you seen what police barracks look like across the country?

Despite the poor and degrading nature of our prisons, most police barracks are no different from reformatories for minors. The police have been reduced to an agency of ridicule and hatred among the population. The only thieves they shoot are ordinary citizens who refuse to give them the N20 toll. When they conclude an investigation successfully, it must be that of a landlord and a tenant or two fighters at a bus stop.

From the time of Anini the Great Robber, the police, rather than being the combatants of crime, have been the companions of progress for armed robbers, robberies and all sorts of social vices. It’s so bad, if you encounter robbers, you have a 70% chance of survival, but the same encounter with a policeman with a gun, you will have less than 30% chance of survival.

A security team without equipment, funding, logistics, means of communication resorts to the very crimes from which it is supposed to protect us. Divisional police offices are now banks; divisional police officers are branch managers who await daily “feedback” (bribes) from marketing executives (junior ranks).

When thieves and assassins attack with assault rifles and the police arrive with Dane rifles, it’s obvious that a lot is wrong.

The edifice called the police is a case of epilepsy, from the change of uniform to the increased recruitment of illiterate people who can barely spell their names. The problem is not necessarily that of the Nigerian police but that of a nation whose leaders have thrown their responsibilities down the drain.

So, Abba Kyari is part of the bigger problem, him and the war of words between the police and the National Drug Enforcement Agency NDLEA is like a police crime scene unit; The story has holes everywhere as the Nigeria Police have a settlement scene unit in every divisional police office. The whole scene is devoid of the care and detail that goes into the investigation. The same Nigerian police with no behavioral unit, arresting you for having dreadlocks or beards, or carrying a laptop… you can understand why there is no collective in what Kyari did wrong or right and who he did stands for and what it really is, in the bigger picture.

Have you ever seen a Nigerian policeman wearing a protective glove at a crime scene? The closest has been at wedding ceremonies or ceremonial occasions.

I was at a local police station recently and watched different activities unfold, from the radio message alerting another station that Adam was about to eat the apple, to the old Olympia typewriter which recalled memories of my late uncle Atiku who was a teacher in the Congo.

I noticed the state of the rank uniforms, the frustration on the officers’ faces. I saw how men in the force collected N100 to buy single sheets, folders and a ballpoint pen for a plaintiff to file his grouse. Officers who are mostly dirty and unkempt…oh I hear it’s about being in hiding.

Speaking of the police, it is interesting to look at the police for what it should be. The police are agents or bodies empowered to enforce the law and affect public and social order through the legitimate use of force.

The term is most commonly associated with police departments of a state that are authorized to exercise that state’s police power within a defined area of ​​legal or territorial responsibility. The word comes via French from the Latin politia (civil administration), which itself derives from the ancient Greek πόλις, for polis (“city”).

In our experience, the police have contributed negatively to an increasingly disjointed social order in the country. The Nigeria Police has failed the nation in its primary function of providing security, ensuring public order, enforcing criminal law, traffic laws, crowd control, criminal investigation etc.

Once upon a time a madman was supposed to watch the police parade at a nearby police station, the divisional police officer walked up to him and asked him if he wanted to join the police and the madman retorted : “I’m crazy ?! ‘.

Like the teaching profession, people these days join the force as a last resort, so naturally they vent all the frustrations of work life. Bail is free on paper but in practice the price you pay depends on the offence, your negotiating skills and the officer responsible.

I once told a story of an officer who pulled over the police commissioner in his state and demanded a bribe of N20 or else he was going to arrest him for driving alone at night while the roads were dangerous. How many times have we seen police officers disappear in an armed robbery, everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die?

A visit to a police barracks tells you the story, poor welfare, houses without shared sanitary facilities, falling buildings, disconnected electricity, breeding ground for miscreants and worse.

Frustration invades the policeman’s wife, another baby every nine months, and the thick line of abject poverty, social deprivation shifts and finds its dwelling in the vicious cycle. It’s in these situations that agents also wreak havoc, from the payroll office all manner of fraud occurs, from the usual illegal deductions, to ghost agents.

With our police, everything goes wrong, nothing goes. The new uniforms are for Ogas only, the gear is on the open market, and anyone can buy and wear and receive a salute. There is public apathy against the police to such an extent that even if they were wearing white they would cover up the color.

Abba Kyari is not just about the police, but also about an examination of our society, which challenges our core values. The point is, we should ask ourselves, how did we get here? Who created Kyari?

The Nigerian police are not all bad, there are some good ones among them, in fact let me state categorically that there are men and women in the police, but they are sadly negligible…We have people like Abba because our police lack 21st century policing skills that thrive more on intelligence gathering, tactical operations, which should result in the clinical execution of their missions, in a flawless and transparent manner for the society. We lack security officers who adopt modern techniques to fight crime. The Force is devoid of values ​​like wider Nigerian society, which is why some criminals are also celebrating the downfall of Abba Kyari.

Between endless hope and a hopeless end, let’s see hope on the horizon, even if it’s hard to see. The situation is bad, let no one say that we have not spoken, written and even begged the government to do something. When will we address the Kyaris, when will we face police officers who interrogate, arrest and detain goats, chickens and crates of beer as witnesses, defendants and complainants – only time will tell.

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