As we wandered through the market that very day, we saw it was soon becoming late and for our safety it was best to begin our journey home as this was very close to the elections, but most emphatically to get home we needed a boat ride for about 15 minutes to the island, a late boat ride is always risky. We boarded the boat about 6pm and we were the only passengers, that didn’t bother us because that town wasn’t a popular destination. It was just where we stayed at that moment. So it began; the ride. Just over five minutes into the deep sea, we looked over and saw a second boat approaching in our direction with great acceleration and no smiling crew member.  My partner leaned over to me and said “we are finished!!” with his eyes bulging. I thought to myself “for over 6 months I have not even seen a police man here” Let’s pause a while from the story and discuss police. 

Police is from the root word which is same as that of Politics where obviously a Politician emerges; both were intended to be the first line of civil organization in a state.  But one makes the law while the other enforces it in the state. Both were supposed to need each other. The police should be separate from the military but should not be inferior to it. In a system that works both actually complement each other in functionality. But by default the Nigerian police system doesn’t exude this attributes, well except you are among the ‘’Oga at the top’’ cadre. So what do we have?

Low self-esteemed officers that could be publicly embarrassed by the military or the navy to the extent that they are now a form of caricature for the countries comedians. Officers that stay under the rain, the sun and in the harmattan with ill maintained uniforms, more than a decade old cars and very inferior pay. This job is actually the most unattractive in Nigeria. Let me rephrase that; due to policies made over the years, the job of being a hero on a daily basis has been made very unattractive in Nigeria. Like you just meet a graduate of human relations and you ask him where you would like to practice and he says “the police force” you are likely to ask if he is insane or if he has been looking for a job for just too long. So what can be done?

Pride is the issue. It’s not just money. But money well invested could boost up the pride of even a common officer. Through the security challenges being faced all around the globe and around the country it would be in the best interest of the nation to start thinking like engineers “Safety First”. If the police was as offensive as it was supposed to be the issues of insurgence would have been prevented no matter anybody’s religious or political beliefs but we have a force structured to be very defensive. Therefore the country needs to re-invent the police force for real, this means more than changing their basic colours. So what do we want to see?

On my way back from the airport recently. I noticed the increased police presence on the roads. But they stood at un-strategic points. Like somebody just put them there to show them off; men with kids. Some just stood like it was secondary school and they were being punished for being noise makers. The police should be made to be more involved, rather made to look like just mere body guards with uniforms going around with the highest bidders. Also the federal police needs a 3 digit number code that even a kid can dial not the 11 digit number it currently has at least make it 4, take a cue from the Lagos state government. That being said. I salute the initiative of the Complaints Response Unit (CRU) that is a step in the right direction.

The story concludes as thus. This foreign boat as suspected did what most boats would not do, and that is approach another speed boat because of the wave each can create. All I could think was “what do they want” I was relieved when I heard “please help transport these people going to the town after yours” from the other boat rider. Why not!!? We all echoed in response with a clear sign of relief, even our boat rider seemed liberated; someone I believed could swim that depth. And off we went.

When was the day, you needed the police?

By the way am just a bystander.


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