Boosting police image with face-lift
One of the image problems the Nigeria police have had to tackle with over the years is filthiness emanating mostly from vacancy of creativity in their workplace and barracks. It’s more heartbreaking when a graduate police officer will have to compare his place of work in a police division with his contemporaries in the banking sector or government parastatals anywhere in Nigeria.
Most police formations across the country cry for for habitation and entering them in well-dressed attire puts one off the mark. You are likely to be confronted with rough network of uncoordinated electricity cables, grid cobwebs, grime, stinking toilets, thick sweat smell, unkempt floors and dirt. Across state command headquarters, Area commands, divisions and police outposts, the story is the same. Patrol vehicles, office tables and desks are in very deplorable condition even when the officers using them are not appalling financially. Officers in charge would rabidly bark that because government do not allocate resources to put their offices in tidy conditions, they do not get water to keep toilets and sewages from stinking.
The same condition meets the eye in barracks where policemen and their families live. What value can a man add to the society when he lives in an untidy environment and work in dirty condition? Sights of broken sewage and dustbin are common sights in police barracks, calling for intervention to redeem the integrity of this hitherto self-sacrificing profession. The psychology of the palatable conditions cannot be over-emphasized as it sometimes has consequential impacts on the officers and men which the nation have spent so much to train.
Pwajok Stephen, a psychologist at the University of Abuja says, a dirty environment can make a man develop animalistic instinct. Whereas man was used to cleanliness, the moment he is enveloped in a disorderly state, he brings out a behavior that balance up with such environment. “When our policemen are controlled to work in such dirty environment for many years, you don’t expect any good thing from them. It’s a natural law of human existence. There is the need for government and leadership of the police to look at that side of innovation. Cleanliness makes us different from animals,” he said.
It is in the light of this depiction, that members of the public driving past the newly improved Force CIID premises in Garki, Area 10 get amazed. The flowers are well groomed, neither littering of dirt nor loitering of strange characters; officers are well dressed in clean suits and shoes. Whether the Garki Area 10 police have also improved on their public relation matters is another issue altogether.
The public is begging however that this neat ambiance radiating cleanliness at the Force CIID in Area 10 should be appreciated and replicated at the state command and all other police formations across the country. Speculations rife say a Good Samaritan may have donated services to keep the office in very neat condition, but inside sources claim that a certain policewoman nicknamed ‘Hajia’ is the officer in charge of the newly improved neatness culture of the detectives therein.
Stephen adds that once a police office is neat, there is that tendency that the members of the public will embrace the officers and men more than ordinarily. The same purity will affect the mindset of the policemen especially towards the members of the public. Kudos to Area 10 FCIID headquarters in Abuja for taking spotlessness and hygiene of their environment beyond the limit of the traditional police culture of filth. Inside sources explains that the Area 10 detectives office should be model for the entire police force in the country to emulate as the detention cells are frequently cleaned and perfumed to make it habitable even for suspects.
*Nyamali, a lawyer writes from Abuja.