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#EndSARS protests: What is next? – Part 3

By Samuel A. Adetuyi
08 October 2021   |   3:02 am
In finding solutions to where we find ourselves in crime-fighting, as a country today, I will deliberately not include the nitty-gritty of the strategies to combat crime

{files] Protester hold the Nigerian national flag where someone has written “Ends SARS Now” during a demonstration to protest against police brutality and scrapping of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Lagos, on October 15, 2020. – Nigerian youth continued to march against police violence in several major cities across the country on October 15, 2020, despite further attacks on processions by men armed with sticks and machetes. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Continued from yesterday

In finding solutions to where we find ourselves in crime-fighting, as a country today, I will deliberately not include the nitty-gritty of the strategies to combat crime. It is not what should be discussed in the public domain, because we must appreciate that criminals are also interested in the offensive by the Police so that they can plan how to neutralize anti-crime activities.

Suffice it to say that government must play a leading role. Security strategizing and its provision anywhere in the world, particularly in developed countries, is a serious business for experts and not an all-comers affair. That is why in my view, past efforts at convoking Security Summits by Federal and State governments, other stakeholders had not added any value to the approaches to control crime. Of course, it is capital intensive. For the government to create adequate capacity for the Police to be able to control crime effectively and efficiently, they must require a technology-driven approach which the present annual budgetary allocation cannot accommodate. That is why the Police Trust Fund Act must of necessity compel men of character and proven integrity to handle its affairs. Its operations must, therefore, transcend political considerations and bickering. Government must find the nerve to put the best materials on the job. For purpose of emphasis, the government must allow for some measure of independence for the Police to operate. We must all appreciate that security is the foundation on which all aspects of the nation rest.

Importantly, it is indisputable that since this Republic took off in 1999 to date, no Police officer has been appointed as the Minister of Police Affairs. I believe that this fact derives from the absolute contempt with which successive governments hold retired Police officers. And it is unfortunate. It is my humble belief that what compels the appointment respectively of Ministers of Defence, Health and Justice to be Military officers, Doctors and Lawyers should of essence compel the appointment of retired Police Officers as Minister of Police Affairs. Come to think of it, a retired Police officer is better positioned for the job as he is already familiar with the terrain and the working environment of the Police.

Today, one of the factors that tend to increase the criminality in the country, particularly among the youths is the high rate of unemployment. Government is trying within the available resources to provide jobs for the unemployed but methinks that this merely scratches the problem. Government should concentrate on the provision of infrastructure like roads, power, water, etc. that has the potential to promote the growth in the activities of the Private sector leading to expansion in their operations and ultimately creating room for employment opportunities to be generated.

The Inspector-General of Police leading a change of effect in Police operations must assert himself and introduce new reforms within legal and constitutional frameworks to purge Nigerians of impunity, lawlessness and recklessness. Today such acts as the indiscriminate use of sirens, operating vehicles with defaced and no number plates must be checked and caged. He does not require any new law to deal with this scourge. In this new drive, he must draw the immediate attention of the government to and the procurement and use of scanning equipment; strengthening the Animal Department, particularly the Dog Section and the Central Criminal Registry, taking advantage of biometric facilities. He must lead his Command officers to dig deep into the pool of retired Police Officers and men for enhanced results. Even though Nigerians may continue to deride and hold Police officers and men in contempt, I believe that we have a crop of retired Police officers who can still play active and useful roles in policing in Nigeria. I recommend that Security Committees be set up at the following three levels:

FHQ Level to be chaired by a retired Inspector-General of Police with six members drawn from retired Assistant and Deputy Inspectors-General of Police to regularly advise the Inspector-General of Police.

SHQ Level to be chaired by a retired Commissioner of Police with six members drawn from retired Assistant and Deputy Commissioners of Police to advise the Commissioner of Police in the State.

Divisional Police Level to be chaired by a retired Chief Superintendent of Police with six members drawn from retired chief Superintendent of Police, Superintendent of Police and Deputy Superintendent of Police to advise the Divisional Police Officer.

The Committees so set up should not be another level of bureaucracy. They should operate behind the scene, acting only in advisory capacity devoid of any executive, operational and administrative responsibilities on the level of policing it operates.

On a general note, the issue of restructuring which has become louder by the day should attract the attention of the government. And the issue of the introduction of State Police must by extension, be given appropriate attention.

Finally, it is important for Nigerians to appreciate the fact that we may have all the technology and the capacity required by the Police for enhanced and efficient law enforcement, the truth is that law enforcement becomes relatively easier and effective where the majority of citizens obey the laws by impulse, cooperate and support the law enforcement agencies. Justice untainted encourages this patriotic zeal in citizens. However, this zeal diminishes where equals are treated unequally and unequal are treated equally.

In Nigeria today, the level of impunity, lawlessness, recklessness, corruption and other negative attitudes derive from seeming injustice that pervades society today. And unfortunately, the negative effect has continued to be on the increase and thus stretching the Police and other security agencies beyond their capabilities, thus creating the Achilles heals to whatever efforts are put in place. In the final analysis, it is society that suffers the consequences.

Concluded

Adetuyi is a lawyer and retired Commissioner of Police.

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