There have been spontaneous protests in many states across the country recently and still on, specifically targeted at members of the Nigeria Police Force.
The agitators who are mostly young persons have raised a whole lot of allegations and assertions against the unprofessional modus operandi of police officers. Their complaints ranges from extortion, brutality, arrest to several unwholesome operations by police officers.
The proponents of the protests have singled out a unit of the police force as a focus, which is the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) which also formed the protest mantra ‘End SARS’.
The protests assumed different dimensions, leading to the killing of a police officer in Ughelli in Delta state, the destruction of police properties and buildings and the injuries sustained by some of the protesters while one was feared dead in Ekpoma in Edo state.
The irate youths have exhibited a somewhat endured oppression and intimidation from the police force for a longer time as can be imagined going by the fierce rage to extinguish the police force by them. It was daring and determined by assessment.
Human rights activists have always warned members of the police force overtime to desist from oppression and extortion of citizens due to the unpalatable feedbacks from victims and family members who have had encounters with the police time to time. Rights activists have equally intervened in several intimidating, oppressive and extortionist dispositions of some members of the police. However, it must be expressly stated that, some officers are very professional in the discharge of their duties.
What was seen as giving a tip to a police officer before now as morale booster has snowballed to becoming a right to them to collect. We also understand that, a police officer have to bribe his way to getting promoted, posted to juicy duty bits and returns to ‘ogas’ at the top are common practices.
Young persons should also be reminded at all times that, there is dignity in legitimate source(s) of livelihood and should desist from cutting corners to earn illegitimate income which has affected the international image of the country in the negative.
The coordinated and spontaneous attacks on the Nigeria police should serve as a springboard for a total overhauling of the institution. The police officer should carry out his constitutional duties professionally in ensuring that the detection and prevention of crimes alongside with the arrest and prosecution of suspects are strictly adhered to. The call to serve the nation is not to enrich self by compromising ethical standards.
It is expected that other law enforcement agencies and public servants should learn from what is currently happening to the Nigeria police and reposition themselves as good citizens that were called to serve the state patriotically and not for self aggrandizement.
WILL THE POLICE LEARN?
Dr Mrs Nkemdi C. Mordi K(NMDI)