19th October, 2011
A former Provost Marshal and a retired General in the Nigerian Army, Idada Ikponmwen, on Wednesday at a book presentation held in Abuja, condemned the use of the military in curbing civil unrest in the country.
Gen. Ikponmwen noted that concerns about security in the country have now reached an alarming height and called for genuine reforms in the Nigeria Police.
The retired Army chief who reviewed the book written by Professor Saliba Mukoro and titled, ‘Reforming The Nigerian Police: The Indisputable Way Forward’, said Nigerians have in recent times accepted and believed more in the military than in the Nigerian Police in curbing civil unrest.
He called for adequate funding and equipping of the police force to make it more responsive to the challenges of maintaining peace and order.
According to him, “the police should be more equipped for the challenges before them as security concerns in our country are growing at an alarming rate. Worry about security has now reached a crescendo and when we talk about security, we must talk about the police.”
The police, he said, should be the main focus when we talk about security in the country and decried the present situation where everyone now believes more in the military than the Nigeria Police whenever there is civil unrest.
“The military must always be at the background. They have no business coming out during internal crisis. The use of the military for civil disturbances is against the 1999 Constitution. We must always do everything to respect the constitution. The President should always seek the consent of the National Assembly before military is deployed during crisis,” hel said.
In his review, he praised the author of the book for highlighting the problem of corruption in the nation’s police which had reached a level where it could be said that some officers in the police do not command respect anymore because of what they subjected their juniors to, in order to make money.
To him, it is foolhardy for the police to expect public support and co-operation without earning public trust.
He also advocated an enhanced public image of the police in an improved police uniform and appearance, as a means of improving confidence and self-esteem of the policeman and by extension, the efficiency of the police.
By Nnamdi Felix / Abuja