Time To Tame Trigger-Happy Policemen


At every available opportunity, the Nigeria Police remind us of the supposed cordiality that exists between the citizens and themselves. Their popular cliché, ‘the police is your friend’, creates a facade of friendship that in actuality exists only in the minds of the force itself.

The police as an agency of state is wholesomely catered to with taxpayers’ money. Yet the quality of policing the country has been abysmally poor, compared to the huge resources spent in maintaining it. True, there are glaring problems militating against effective discharge of police duties across the country. This does not, however, mean that the force should not at least provide the required atmosphere that can enhance community policing which has become the norm globally.

It is disheartening that rather than carry out the simple responsibility of safeguarding lives and property, the police are rather turning the weapons bought for them on innocent citizens. This has been a recurring decimal, as cases of extra-judicial killings are becoming rampant.

Daily, the press is awash with stories of the shooting of innocent citizens by the police. In recent times, it has escalated to a frightening ratio, which gives the nation the semblance of a haven of bestiality and barbarism. Now, the thick of the action seems to be Bayelsa State. On 16 October, a policeman from hell shot dead a 25-year old, Emmanuel Victor for critising them for taking bribe at a check point as he was passing by.

Recently too, the anti-crime outfit set up by Governor Timipre Sylva, Operation Famu-Tamgbe, has been in the centre of controversy. Rather than dissipate its energy fighting criminals, it instead vented its apparently contrived anger on the harmless people of that state. In September 2010, the security agents were reported to have bitten Karina Frank-Oputu, plant manager of Gilly Halena hotel to death. Not done, the police are alleged to have taken Freddie Ockiya from his home in the presence of his parents and he was later found in a morgue in the state capital.

It is good that the Federal Government disbanded the terror-gang that passed for a security team in Bayelsa. Many more are still out there wreaking havoc, killing and maiming hapless Nigerians. Such officers and their civilian collaborators, if any, should be fished out and made to face the full wrath of the law. This should be done in accordance with the best justice system as it obtains elsewhere.

Until this is done, the spate of bullying and killing will continue, while the families of the deceased bear the losses alone.

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