Nigerians claim police must protect life and property of all Nigerians irrespective of the status or stratification, and because of this important responsibility, the population has called for better funding for the police to enable the organisation to confront the rising spate of insecurity in the country.
Nigerians also hailed the decision of the Inspector-General of Police to withdraw the six police personnel attached to Chairman of Five Star Group, Emeka Okonkwo, popularly known as E-Money.
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In a chat with former Commissioner of Police and Federal Capital Territory, Mr Lawrence Alobi called for adequate funding of police to enable them to have better training and equipment in combating the increasing wave of violent crimes.
Alobi said, "Police have been complaining of inadequate funding, equipment and uniforms. Police are lacking so much."
He called for the integration of community and democratic policing where the rule of law and democratic values would be observed with the view to restoring public confidence in the police.
He added, "Most Nigerians do not trust the police and this is not the making of the police but colonial mentality and prejudice. This started with colonial administration when colonial masters introduced the police to brutalise, arrest and detain people.
"But I advocate democratic policing in line with democratic values and principles and respect for human rights."
He added that withdrawing police from personalities in the country would be a disservice, stating that politicians, celebrities and traditional rulers are a human being and entitled to police protection.
But he condemned the abuse and use of police escorts deployed to guide VIPs to do domestic work.
A legal practitioner, Ifeanyi Okechukwu, who also spoke with our correspondent, said the withdrawal of police escorts from E-Money over the abuse was a good development.
He said the law does permit any politician, traditional ruler, celebrity and public office holder to maltreat police officers guiding them.
He said, "Anybody who has the money and can afford personal security should be allowed to have it."
"But if such officer is abused, the IGP has the right and should withdraw the police personnel from such person."
Image credit Pius Utomi, AFP
A senior staff of Police Service Commission, who asked not to be named, said non-adherence to the provisions of the law by former IGPs was responsible for the continued abuse of police escorts attached to influential personalities in the country.
He said the failure of the previous IGPs to utilise the constitutional window to create Special Constabulary and Supernumerary Police led to the loss of public confidence in the police due to their misuse.
He stated that there was nothing spectacular in the withdrawal of E- Money's police escorts since there was a report of abuse, adding that deployment of police personnel to VIPs was a privilege, not a right.
He added that unless these windows were properly used, the regular police will not be respected and they will continue to be inadequate.
It is estimated that Nigeria currently has around 375,000 police personnel out of which over 150,000 are attached to VIPs in the country.
The citizen/police ratio in Nigeria with a population of about 205 million people, stands at one police officer for every 555 citizens, or about 180 police officers per 100,000 people.
This falls short of the global average, according to data from the United Nations, which indicated that it should be about 340 police officers per 100,000 people.
The UN also recommends a minimum police strength of 220 per 100,000 people.
Source: Sahara Reporters