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Memo to the IG


Sir: In the short hour of the day on Tuesday 07 February 2017, I gathered my frame into a commercial vehicle from Port Harcourt for a trip I had cause to embark on to Sokoto State.

The level of policing I witnessed on my trip was first-rate. I saw battle-ready policemen at every corner and bend on the road as we journeyed out of Port Harcourt.

In many locations, staff members of the police were only 100 meters away from each other at designated checkpoints. I appreciated their presence on the road – who wouldn’t? It gives people confidence in government when they know that the safety of lives is important and not subordinated. Although I wasn’t impressed with the underhanded practice when money had to change hands from drivers to policemen at every stop. Nobody can end this. It is now a norm but this isn’t the reason for this letter.Though it makes a mockery of the reform of the police that you promised Nigerians.

I had expected these police presence to be a matter of course everywhere gavel-to-gavel throughout my long trip but it wasn’t. When we passed the sleepy town of Okene at 9:30pm, a town at war with itself where a nightly curfew I heard is in place, policemen were at strategic points to enforce it. Little wonder – we never saw a being outside save for these policemen. All indigenes were in Noah’s Ark. It is a crying-shame to the people of Okene I must say.

Why are they always in the news for the wrong reasons?
I found it ironic to see that from Zuba to Kaduna, we never encountered one police checkpoint. So I imagined that we may see some from Kaduna to Zaria but there were none. Could the cold from Kaduna to Zaria have prevented setting up a checkpoint. It was scary. Imagine if we had run into good-for-nothings?

So, I guessed that the cops were busy and we would see checkpoints from Zaria to Giwa, but there were none. This policing strategy was befuddling. How is it that one part of Nigeria is heavily policed and another is not?

I am not unmindful of the fact that police officers are overwhelmed, understaffed, out-gunned by tykes and rowdies, many in the homes of private individuals opening gates, as chaperons for the wives of private people going to the market but there needs to be balance. All lives matter.

God forbid if we had run into robbers! They would have taken seven-forevers to either fleece us, rape the women and do other things good-for-nothings do without conscience with no help in sight.

What’s is the policing philosophy of the Nigerian police? What is the domestic agenda of the Nigerian police? I find it hard to comprehend.
Simon Abah, Port Harcourt.

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Simon Abah
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