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“Who shall guard the guardians?”

27 August 2012, 10:28

I read somewhere in the papers that five members of the Nigerian police mobile force members (PMF) were arrested by a police monitoring group on the orders of the Commissioner of Police in charge of the PMF,  for improper dressing and other unethical practices.

It was also reported that three others resisted arrest by shooting at the members of the monitoring group, thankfully no one was hurt.

Let’s be sincere with ourselves, going by this recent development, does anyone think we would achieve the desired sanity in the police? And from what we see daily and going by what the Inspector General said a few weeks back that the members of the police are Nigerian children!

We all see these police men too, I have seen a policeman on duty sagging his uniform somewhere along Ikorodu Road, Lagos, I have also seen a policewoman with uniform so wrinkled and crumpled you would know with a glance that the uniform was never pressed and must have been slept on. There is evidently a display of reckless indiscipline manifested in the common attitude of these men.

While the idea of a monitoring group is not out of place—if we can change the mind of the man by addressing his dress sense, so be it.

But as a matter of urgency and importance monitoring an entire disoriented team would amount to nothing unless we are prepared to do away with the entire team, which is unsustainable. Hence the option of instilling discipline by proper motivation, training and retraining schedules, and a complete reorientation of the minds of our serving men.

And adequate training right from the training schools, let these young men know that they are coming to serve and protect not to exploit and bully. Teach and teach them again until they realise that policing is about making sacrifices for the society.

Then, shall we talk about monitoring.

In truth, is monitoring the poor policeman on the street who is demotivated; lives in decrepit barracks, wears threadbare uniforms issued ten to fifteen years ago (no replacement in view unless he buys) and cannot afford his children’s school fees, the appropriate thing to do now?

While the leadership is busy setting up another committee to present a report on the report submitted by the Parry Osayande led Presidential Committee on the Reorganisation of the Nigerian Police. A mere scenario of mockery similar to what you would encounter on a Plautus’s stage.

You will not be surprised that the Osayande led committee recommended in their report that the Ministry of Police Affairs be scrapped and Federal Government in their wisdom, set up another committee to present a white paper on that report, with the Minister of Police Affairs Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd.) as a member.

In this quagmire of merry-go-round of committees upon committees, how does the policeman on the street fare, who cares for him, who is responsible for him, is scrapping the Police Affairs Ministry the solution, who or what agency or department would usurp the duties of the Ministry? The whole police situation begs the question, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”  “Who shall guard the guardians?”

In our own case “who shall police our policemen?”

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