Is Naija Police truly our Friend?

Who will save Nigeria from the menace of corruption, which is ravaging the country, holding it by the jugular, to the pains and detriment of her ordinary citizens? When will Nigeria receive her independence from corruption and all the malaise that has kept it at its knees and made it a laughing stock in the country of civilized and progressive nations?

Everywhere you go, the smell of corruption is thick in the air and you can hardly make a success of any business, project, or programme unless you are corrupt. As a matter of fact, you look odd, foolish and somehow incompetent if you don’t know how to bribe or gratification for what ordinarily, should be your birth or legal right. Ironically, everybody vilifies corruption and brood over its pang, but then manages to be part of it one way or the other, using the corrupt tendencies of the other as a justification for his own.
How many Nigerians would feel comfortable to walk up to a police station for one assistance or the other even in the face of the slogan that police is your friend? Not even Lawyers can beat their chests that they can walk comfortably into premises of the Nigerian Police station to plead the cause of their clients considering the humiliation they are going to suffer if they expect to get any free services from the station. Whatever your designation may be, your road will certainly be rough if your expectation is to walk in and out without dropping something; never mind that there is big signboard right at the entrance of the police station warning you that ‘BAIL IS FREE’ or that ‘CORRUPTION IS EVIL, SHUN IT’. If you take the admonition too seriously, you may end up being bashed or dented in your face for having the effrontery to ‘teach a policeman how to do his job or for conduct likely to insult the police in his office.
Hey! Nigeria is turning to something else. When will she turn to be better than any country? Is corruption peculiar only to the Nigeria Police Force? What about all those Senators and political office holders who contribute little or nothing to the polity, yet go home with outrageous perks? What about governors and other political office holders who milk the nation dry and yet no eyebrow is raised except the officers who merely collect a token as a bribe to augment the little given to them by the government for doing so much.
Let’s face reality, the justification for corruption in this case, for which reason no war must be waged against it, as far as these officers are concerned, is because other Nigerians indulge in it. The provisions of S.338 of the Police Act, which enjoins every police officer

to use his best endeavour to uphold the good name of the force and to further the good relations with the public

and that of S.339 of the Act which demands that

a police officer shall be determined and incorruptible in the exercise of his police duties

make no sense at all. If these laws are not direct enough or vague in context, what about Article 7 of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, which is more direct and unsparing when it states  unequivocally,

Law Enforcement Officials Shall Not  Commit Any Act of Corruption. They Shall Also Rigorously Oppose and Combat all Such Acts.

What does this originally suggest? It is that corruption is thriving and indulged in by all and sundry simply because the Police fail in their duty to ‘rigorously oppose and combat it’. So rather than using corruption of others as a raison detre for the unconscionable and embarrassing corruption that is on in the force, which has made kidnapping a thriving business in the South-East, Police should see it as a sign of failure on their part.


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