The recent brutal killing of five Police officers in the Dallas community of United State of America has once more brought to the fore the delicate and dangerous nature of the job of policing all over the world. It is very unfortunate that Police officers who were recruited to ensure safety of lives and property of citizens during a public demonstration, could turn out to become the target of unsolicited aggression by some insane persons who infiltrated the line of demonstrators just to perpetrated their calculated wickedness.
Such atrocious act has over the years been the lot of Police officers even in Nigeria. It is therefore important to start addressing this trend. Most demonstrations and agitations in Nigeria have snowballed into bloody engagement between the people and the police. A time was, when University students regarded the Security personnel, especially the Police as their number one enemy.
By not remembering such bloody confrontations between the Police and University Students is like allowing old wound to heal. The country has not helped matters, most especially the military government of the past. It is such mindset between the students of yester years who interestingly have become the leaders of today and had formed an opinion about the Police. It is like witnessing the shooting of your bosom friend by a gun trotting police officer as a student, only to be appointed years after, as the minister for Police affairs. Only the good Lord knows the type of policies you would put out.
In 2006, armed robbers and gunmen started attacking Police officers in Nigeria and the then Inspector General of Police, Mr Tafa Balogun ingeniously argued that if police officers who are sustained with the people’s money are left to be butchered my armed men without any noticeable protection from both the public and the government, then, the Police officers have no other choice than to protect themselves by using the same gun the people provided for them. According to him,” you cannot talk about Human right for the people and exclude Police officers from also enjoining the same human right; as if the Police officer is no longer a human being. That was how “ Fire- For- Fire” was born. It was a proactive measure aimed at issuing an early warning to members of the public and those who are likely to attack Police officers on official duties, not to carry out dastardly action by attacking and killing Police officers just like that “.
It has been discovered that hoodlums with ulterior motives are usually the first to attack Police officers on duty. No wonder Police officers have always been on the receiving end especially from members of the public. The question is, must this continue like that? Why would citizens take the life of a Police officer paid to protect them and their property? What sin did the Nigeria Police commit that the society he is constitutionally empowered to protect is not impressed with their attitude? Over the years, since the transition from military regime into democratic dispensation, every Inspectors General of Police have tried to close the gap in the sour relationship between the Police and members of the society.
A lot need to be addressed by the present IGP in bringing not only sanity into the police force, but to ensure that the public hatred towards the Police is nib in the bud. The Police cannot succeed without the goodwill and support of Nigerians. In Zambia, the cordiality between the police and the citizens is attributable to the peaceful atmosphere in the country, which has positioned the country as the most peaceful country in Africa. Historically, the Nigeria police used to be the friend of the people. This trend was however truncated when political leaders were using the police as tools of oppression and intimidation against the people. This sour relationship continued and became worsened with the past military dispensation. Both the Police and the citizens recorded a lot of causalities, as the spate of hatred heightened. Even with the democratic administration, the police is yet to find it’s bearing with the citizenry. While the police leaders are making efforts to bridge the gap between them and the citizens, political leaders are persistent in increasing the gap between the people and the police. It is therefore important for the IGP and his management team to intensify every effort to win the people to its side as “ friends of the police”.
Swapping Chibok Girl
It all started when 276 female students of the Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State, were kidnapped on 14 April 2014 by an extremist and terrorist organisation known as Boko Haram. 57 of the girls managed to escape. Since then hopes were raised on various occasions that the 219 remaining girls might be released.
Boko Haram was hoping to use the girls as negotiating pawns in exchange for some of their commanders in jail. However, as news emerges about the remaining girls, for any news of their death, subtraction is done. Today, the federal government is considering the initial demand of the sect in a swap arrangement. Swapping, in other word means exchange.
Two years gone by, majority of the girls are still in captive and the question is, should the government accept the demand of the Boko Haram terrorists? To many, it is unthinkable and to others, it is a dicey situation. The truth is that there are situations that warrant swapping in a war situation. If you value your captured citizens then you may be forced to do anything to free them from the enclave of their captors. In the Nigerian net is hundreds of captured Boko Haram members who have been interrogated and even profiled by the appropriate security agencies. So what are such characters still doing with Nigeria. I think the best way to go about their demand is to insert electronic chips in the bodies of those to be released and monitor every of their movements. The only snap in their demand is the number of those to be exchanged. Also, the recent claim of the sect that Nigerian Air force bombings killed many of the girls. One should then ask, how many of the girls are still alive in their camps. The federal government should insist that only the Chibok girls should be released.