Now That The Police Has Been Reformed: What Next? By Wilson Wilson

Coming at a time when the Police Force is struggling so hard to redeem its battered image, and being viewed by the general public as the worse institution of government due incessant extrajudicial killings and other negative vices connected therewith. 

We appreciate the efforts of the 8th National Assembly for making sure the laws establishing and guiding the operations of the police that existed over seven decades ago is now finally reformed. 

The main purpose of every reform is to improve the functioning and the operational capacity of the system that is being reformed to make it more efficient and productive. 

Over the years, we have had many reforms in Nigeria; be it Health, Agriculture, Education, Sports, Power, etc. What has been the level of implementation and effects of those reforms?

From 1999 when democracy returned to Nigeria, the National Assembly has had some pockets of reforms for the Police Force; and from that period till now, the Force has had about ten Inspector Generals. Were those pockets of reforms implemented, and to what stage? 

Yes, accepted that the laws establishing the Force are so archaic and outdated, how many modern laws are functioning effectively in Nigeria? I think the problem is not the law itself, but the managers of the law.

It is one thing to reform the Police Force, yet, it’s another thing to reform the mindsets of the Police Management Team ( the hierarchy of the force ) and its lower cadre personnel.

Nigeria Police Force is not a private institution, it is a creation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (section 214 {1}), makes it an institution of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Over the period, how much commitment has the Federal Government put into the running of the Force in terms of welfare, adequate funding, operational logistics and the rest?

I have been monitoring budgets in Nigeria for some years now and have observed that Police Budgets has always been the most miserable and, the level of disbursement, implementation, often times the lowest.

Few years ago, Police proposed N300 billion, National Assembly approved N16 billion and the executive released a paltry sum of N7 billion. No wonder the Senate fortnight ago, describes Nigerian Police as miracle workers.

Today, Nigeria is having the military usurping the primary duties of the police because Police Force has been abandoned by the government for too long to the point that police seems to have lost its senses of responsibility.

For us as a people to have a more robust, efficient, effective, peoples oriented and globally accepted Police Force, as we are all yearning for; governments at all level must wake up to its responsibility by rejigging the funding of the Force through improved budgeting, appropriate disbursement and proper implementation.

Now that the much anticipated Police Reform Bill has been passed by the Senate, what next? Will President Buhari do the needful by assenting to it when the bill gets to his table, to make it law for full implementation.

But till then, the document might just be a mere academic exercise that may ends up joining other likes documents in the dustbin of history. 

I am Wilson Wilson, just thinking aloud!

E-mail : [email protected]

Twitter: @sirwilsjnr


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