Rebuilding Police-Civillian Relationship


The recent death of a player with Remo Football Club, Tiamiyu Kazeem, allegedly caused by the police has again brought to the fore what many see as the highhandedness by men of the force in treating matters involving an average Nigerian .

Reports have it that the player was detained by the police in a vehicle and carelessly pushed out into harm’s way to be crushed by a hit-and- run motorist in Sagamu, Ogun State.

There is no doubt that the relationship between the Nigeria Police and the public has been almost a cat and dog affairs and is replete with a history of accidental discharges that have left lives of many being senselessly wasted.

In fact, the relationship has come to a point where no civilian trusts the police anymore.

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That probably explains why the force has come up with ‘The Police is Your Friend’ slogan to try to win hearts and souls.

Therefore, while the many deaths at the hands of the police may be treated as isolated cases, there is a strong need to rebuild the image of the force in the eyes of the public.

Although people hardly voice it out, at the back of their minds they do acknowledge the great efforts of the police in battling crime.

The act of combating crime is too demanding and could be psychologically draining on the police in a population as large as Nigeria’s.

As a result, some officers have lost their cool and taken the laws into their hands under pressure of crime bursting.

It is therefore unfortunate that the innocent Nigerians the police were established by the law to protect usually end up bearing the brunt of the force.

Perhaps as a result of work pressure, some officers have become the law onto themselves and taken it into their hands with impunity.

Therefore, the average Nigerian policeman has become excessively aggressive, discourteous, intimidating and an outright bully to the very civilian population they are paid to protect. What an irony!

The Nigeria Police need to learn from their counterparts in other climes on how to treat the public. Take for example how the police in Hong Kong have been handling the unending waves of wild protests and rioting rocking the city for months on end. There is no report of the police shooting or killing any protester so far and that is a plus for the Hong Kong police. One would rightly wonder whether the Nigeria Police would have been able to handle such magnitude of protests and rioting without causing loss of lives.

Nigerians will want to see a police force that is truly a friend indeed, especially at this time of great insecurity in the country.

When Nigerians begin to see a truly changed and transformed police who respect the rights of the citizens of this country, then many youths will yearn to joyfully join the force as a career.

Ironically, it is on record that the Nigeria Police have always been at their best at United Nations peacekeeping missions abroad. If that be the case, then let charity begin at home.

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