Task Before New Police Boss
President Goodluck Jonathan after months of dilly dallying did the needful by striking the police high command with a shakeup many Nigerians see as overdue. Consequently, former Inspector General of Police, IGP, Hafitz Ringim, and his deputies were relieved from office. Mr. President yielded to public pressure which greeted Ringim’s inglorious tenure.
Assistant Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Dikko Abubakar, was elevated to head the Nigeria Police Force as Acting Inspector General of Police. His appointment was greeted by allegation of previous indictment which qualified him to be retired or sacked. But somehow the man is still in service and is now leading the police in the arduous task of containing the Boko Haram insurgency and maintaining internal security.
One is not in a position to argue for or against the said indictment. Since President Jonathan deemed it wise to pass on the mantle of the police command to M D Abubakar, it is one’s hope that he performs to the satisfaction of Nigerians. The IGP should take up his gauntlet and begin action that will nip in the bud Boko Haram’s daring rascality. He should spread intelligence tentacles in such a way that the terrorist group nexus is penetrated. He should ensure that all those involved in the escape of the rearrested December 25/11 church bombing kingpin are punished. And every atom of information gathered should be thoroughly followed.
Mr. Abubakar should also consider rebranding the force by ensuring that community policing is promoted to a level of public acceptance. There was a time when some police men and women were sent abroad for community policing training. Why that is allowed to still remain in limbo is unknown? I envisage that not much would be done in curbing the Boko Haram folly and criminality in the country expect the public give positive assistance on Boko Haram members, where they train, their guns and ammunition suppliers, the depots and hide outs of criminals are known to some members of the public. Those enemies of the society are not from outer space. Abubakar should court the confidence of the public to avail his men with vital information that would help in dealing with such menace posed by criminals.
Again, the new IGP has to do something about police brutality and extra judicial killings, especially of armless civilians. It is preposterous for a police force that needs public support in the discharge of its duties to be seen by the public as its enemy. He should ensure that informants are not made the accused. The fear of betraying informants has made many people who may have valuable information to pass on to the police to be mute.
The new police boss should open communication channel with mobile telephone providers to create hotline numbers that are easy to remember and which the public can call without cost to them when passing information. Such numbers could be 111, 2222, 44444 or 777777.
Many Nigerians are struggling to cope with the extra burden which fuel subsidy removal has imposed on them, so they may be prepared to accept a sum to pass on intelligence to the police. Telephone service providers should be able to help as part of their social responsibility to their host country.
Police personnel who daily risk their lives to protect us are doing a great job. They should be well taken care of. They should be well remunerated and all necessary incentives should be paid as and when due. Those due for promotion should be elevated. That way they would be happy serving the public. A situation where top shots in the force embezzle all that is due to the rank and file while singing the mantra: wait for your turn is unacceptable.
M D Abubakar does not need greed, ethno-tribal sentiments and fraternal allegiance to pilot the affairs of Nigeria Police Force. He surely needs humility, openness; trust from his men and the public and above all wisdom to lead and to excel. I wish he succeeds. Will he? Time will tell.