The police is your friend – words of the past, it seems. Today, the police are more about terrorising, bullying and killing for no reason. That Nigerian policemen are out of control is like saying ‘Ijebu garri’ is sour. Some believe that there are still good policemen out there, and I used to admit that quite often, but never again. Well, maybe there are still good policemen out there, doing their job of protecting and serving their pockets every day. The biggest problem is, no one is doing anything about it, even the government.
Hardly a day passes by without stories of a police officer shooting a ‘danfo’ driver because of N50, police terrorising people on the street and asking for receipts for everything, even for the Agege bread in your bag, pulling off people’s vehicle plate numbers for whatever accusations they could conjure up. The crazy thing is that they always try to justify their senseless actions. A prime example of how the police are out of control is how they quickly jump into your car even before you disobey traffic regulations. They don’t even wait for you to beat the traffic light; they are already inside your car, seated with the seatbelt on, like you guys are going on a planned vacation.
There was a particular case when I asked the police officer why he was inside my car and he replied, “Am I inside your car?” For once I thought the policeman had gone bunkers. The lying scum didn’t even know what he was saying. All he was thinking about was the money he was demanding from me. How many innocent Nigerians have been injured or killed for no reason at the hands of the police?
If you are living in Lagos and you haven’t had issues with a police officer, then there must be something wrong with you. And if you don’t think we have a problem with the police in this great nation of ours, you need to check yourself properly. The police have seemingly abandoned the ideal of protecting and serving for beating the shit out of you, killing, lying and so on. Maybe their new motto ought to be, “protecting and serving the shit out of you.”
Solving the police misconduct problem is simple. Many of these people are power-hungry individuals who get off on having too much power, which leads into them abusing the powers they get when they become police officers. Simply weed out these people in the recruiting process. Don’t just tell us you do it, do it actually.
And if the Police Force is already doing it, step it up a bit – it’s obviously not working very well. Oh, and if they get past all of that, when they do something completely out of line, don’t let them come back to the job.
Second, there should be real accountability. In a lot of these lawsuits against the police, guess who ends up paying the price for them? The taxpayers. I guarantee there would be a lot less police misconduct if police officers have to face real consequences and have to pay large fines.
Someone needs to police the police. Chances are you may think having another government organisation watch over them is a wonderful idea. WRONG! Having government watch over government has obvious issues. The people need to keep an eye on the police, and let their superiors know about misconduct. Got video of police misconduct? Post it. Share it with the world.
Do whatever possible to get the word out about your experience with police misconduct. Video evidence is key to exposing police misconduct. Let the government know, because we still have some power in government, but we have to utilise it! Yes, I know this already occurs, but it needs to happen on a much larger scale. Most of us don’t have the time to do it, but we need to make the time to do it. The police work for the people in the end, so maybe it’s time the people kept a closer eye on them, instead of brushing off stories of police misconduct. Hey, but before you bring out your camera phone to take a picture or make a video, make sure the police isn’t aware because if you are taking a selfie around Nigerian police officers, they become apprehensive and demand to see what you are doing with your phone or camera as the case may be.
Third, STOP GIVING THEM MORE POWER! Giving an out-of-control system more power has so much potential to be a disaster. Yes, in rare cases it could help, but most of these weapons don’t belong in the hands of the police, especially when they are on the street and not on any official duty. You see a police officer walk into a beer parlor to booze with his gun cocked and ready to shoot. Most of the police weapons we see these days are made for war, they don’t belong on the streets. A visitor coming into the country would think we are at war because there are too many drunk police officers carrying guns about.
Here’s a statistic that should get you thinking: Hundreds of soldiers have been killed in the war against Boko Haram. The number of innocent Nigerians killed by policemen yearly is in the thousands. Oh, the terrorists that the government is always telling us are so dangerous have killed fewer people than the police? Let’s get this straight. You are more likely to be killed by a police officer than terrorists in Nigeria. The number of people killed in the Biafra war is lower than the number killed by the police in the last decade. Sounds like something might be wrong yet?
The way I see things, we have a huge problem. The Police are out of control, they do what they want and get away with too much. A uniform and a gun seem to give them way too much power. Things must “CHANGE!” Some may disagree with me, criticise me for my views, but what I discussed above is the way I see things. My solutions may not completely solve the problem, but I believe they could create a huge dent in the problem. It would be a huge step in the right direction. What has happened to “ the police is your friend?”