The resolve of the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase to improve the image and efficiency of the Nigerian Police Force may remain a tour in dream land except the force fishes out the trigger-happy cops and flush them out of the system. Security experts have constantly posited that without a cordial relationship with the public and trust from the citizens, the Police will remain ineffective in carrying out its duty of maintaining law and order.
On Friday, a young man was reportedly shot dead in front of his shop in the Power-line Shoe factory in Aba, Abia State. The police was said to have accompanied the operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency on a raid at the market. The incident further strained a rusty relationship between the police and the public in Aba, the industrial hub of South East Nigeria.
The response by traders and residence of the area who took the dead body to the nearby police station and drove away officers on duty, created tension before normalcy was restored.
Recently in Ajah area of Lagos, a 33-year-old man was killed by operative of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The operatives took his body away. While the family was waiting for apologies and maybe compensation from the police authority for what everyone believed was a mistake by SARS operatives on the 20th of July, the Police had a different plan.
On the 28th of July, 8 days after the incident, the family went to the SARS office at Ikeja and was shown a picture of the deceased with two guns placed on the body. They were told that their son was an armed robber who was killed in a duel with the police.
“When his body was taken away forcibly at Ajah, he had nothing like that on him. There were many Ajah youths around at the time, no gun was found on him. But in the photo they showed us, they had placed two guns on his body,” the relation, Kehinde Emmanuel told Punch Newspapers.
These are examples of the usual expression “Police is your friend.”
Human rights activist, Henry Ibekwe, said recklessness by the police is a spill-over of military impunity. He said that until those who violate people’s right to life pay with their own life, there will never be an end to the brutality by men who should protect life.
“The police and other related agencies must begin to give account of all their excesses. They must begin to pay for all the crimes they commit. You can imagine a dog eating the bone hung on its neck. That is exactly what the police has specialized on and it must stop” he said.