While the overhaul of SARS is commendable, government should take a step further towards overhauling the entire Nigeria Police Force…
After the sack of Lawal Daura, the ex-Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, during the week rose to the occasion and ordered the immediate reorganization of the dreaded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force.
Although belated, Osinbajo did the right thing because SARS has attracted much derision and opprobrium from many Nigerians because of the excesses of some of its officers that border on human rights abuses. SARS was initially set up to confront the nationwide armed robbery of the 1980s, represented by the Anini saga and others, but with time the problem solver became the problem hence the overhaul. The trouble became so much that some concerned Nigerians initiated the ‘END SARS’ campaign. Osinbajo in giving the order to reorganize SARS to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, wants him to make the new SARS intelligence-driven.
According to the order, the new SARS is restricted to detection and prevention of armed robbery and kidnapping. The new SARS is also expected to adhere to the rule of law and have regard to human rights of suspects.
In order words, all suspects should be presumed innocent until the contrary is proven. They should not be treated like criminals. A new Commissioner of Police will be in charge of the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS). The head of FSARS, which was under the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (FCIID) but should now be under the Department of Operations, Force Headquarters, Abuja, will be reporting to the IGP through Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Department of Operations.
READ ALSO: Osinbajo orders overhaul of SARS
While the overhaul of SARS is commendable, government should take a step further towards overhauling the entire Nigeria Police Force for more effectiveness. SARS is not the only bad egg in the force. The force needs to be reorganized in terms of recruitment, training, retraining and equipment.
The numerical strength of the police vis-a-vis the country’s population should be critically examined. The current police strength of below 400,000 is not adequate to police 180 million Nigerians. The welfare of the typical Nigerian police officer is nothing to write home about. The idea of policemen buying their own uniform sounds absurd. Using police officers for errand duties as por- trayed publicly by political office holders and their spouses and even wards does not give the force a good image.
Then, the bribery and corruption in the force as represented by ‘kola’ or ‘roja’ and other concepts used for extortion and bribery by policemen and women has further battered the image of the force beyond redemption. The overhaul of SARS may end up a mere order if nothing concrete is done to actually reform the entire police force. The poor funding of the police by the government is equally not helping matters.
Agreed that some police officers may be greedy and go out of their way to extort money from the public, the general impression is that the average cop is not well remunerated in the country. Many are shabbily dressed and ill-motivated for the work they do.
There is no way a poorly-remunerated and ill-motivated cop can give his best.
If the government is serious about good policing of Nigeria, it must increase police funding, enhance the salary of all police personnel, train and retrain them. Above all, it must give heed to establish state policing.
Reorganizing the SARS and still maintain a central command structure for the police will never solve the problem of policing the country. We must model our policing after the United States of America from where we borrowed our presidential system of government if we expect to achieve the best results.
The Onitsha wonder girls
Five young girls, students of Regina Pacis Secondary School Onitsha, Anambra State, recently brought honour to Nigeria by winning the gold medal in the 2018 World Technovation Challenge held at Silicon Valley, San Francisco, United States of America. The wonder girls, Promise Nnalue, Jessica Osita, Nwabuaku Ossai, Adaeze Onuigbo, and Vivian Okoye, said to be in Junior Secondary School, beat their counterparts from US, China, Spain, Turkey and others to clinch the gold medal.
READ ALSO: The golden girls from Anambra
They became champions of tech-entrepreneurship by developing a mobile app, ‘FD Detector’, which will tackle the problem of fake pharmaceutical products in Nigeria. There is no doubt that the girls had done Nigeria proud and written the name of the country in gold. With this honour, there is still hope for our education system.
The significance of the feat is that Anambra State government both under Governors Peter Obi and his successor, Willie Obiano, invested much in education. While Obi computerized many sec- ondary schools in the state and returned to the missions schools which were tak- en over from them by military regimes, Obiano sustained it.
The performance of students from Anambra in JAMB, WAEC and NECO examinations shows there is much value investing in education. I commend the Government of Anambra State and urge it to do more in education. Credit should go to the students, their teachers, their
coach and mentor and all those that contributed to their victory.
President Muhammadu Buhari should honour the girls for the great feat. The girls can be given scholarships to pursue their academic dreams in any part of the world. Let all tiers of government invest more in education and prioritize the girl-child education.
Let other students emulate the resilience of the Onitsha wonder girls, the pride of Nigeria and the pride of Africa. The girls should he helped to commercialize the innovation.
Looming FIFA ban
For the love of our football and our participation in FIFA organized events and those of affiliated sports bodies, those in charge of our football house should do everything humanly possible to avert the looming FIFA ban on Nigeria. They should never risk any FIFA ban because it will never be good for us. Rather, it will compound our football woes.
READ ALSO: Nigeria, Ghana risk FIFA ban
The power play in Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) must be handled with caution and in accordance with FIFA rules. We must respect FIFA and its statutes because we freely entered and signed them. The August 20 deadline given the NFF to settle the power tussle is very close. If Nigeria is banned, it is goodbye to 2019 AFCON qualifier against Seychelles and the U-17 AFCON zonal quali- fier in Niger.
Therefore, it is safe for us to end the leadership crisis that has rocked the NFF before FIFA axe falls on us.