The Federal Government (FG) is set to recruit 30,000 more policemen before the end of this year 2017. This was disclosed by the Deputy Inspector General DIG in charge of north-west zone, Maigari Dikko in Birnin Kebbi yesterday when he paid a courtesy visit to Governor Abubakar Bagudu.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) lauds FG’s decision. It is bold, visionary and pragmatic. It is calculated to ensure security for all. This is one step towards moving the panacea to Nigeria’s security challenges along global best practices.
By this action, the Buhari administration has proved that it is not battling corruption alone, it is equally tackling the problem of general insecurity in the country.
This decision will boost efforts aimed at curtailing crimes in Nigeria. It is also commendable particularly against the backdrop of 10,000 cops recruited earlier in January this year. If it is allowed to become a fait accompli, it will bring the total number of policemen recruited this year alone to 40,000. It is another feather in the Federal Government’s cap.
We are excited by this development. It is one of the best things that have happened in Nigeria since the Annual Police Report of 2008 which put the total figure of Nigerian policemen at 310,177. There has been no mass recruitment since then in spite of the astronomical rise in the country’s civilian population. The December 2016 population estimate released by the National Population Commission in conjunction with the National Bureau of Statistics is 193 million.
Considering the United Nation’s recommendation of at least one policeman for every 448 civilians, it becomes clear that we do not have enough policemen for our teeming population. This explains why many criminals get away with their nefarious activities at will and many crimes remain unsolved. The acute shortage has also informed the wanton killings across the country.
We recall the frustrations of former National Security Adviser, General Andrew Azazi (rtd) when he lamented in December 2011 that it was impossible for the security agencies to police the entire country. It was a euphemism for acute shortage of manpower among the security agencies and we were shocked that nothing was done to address the shortage until the Buhari administration came on board. FG’s decision to embark on another mass recruitment this year, therefore, is not only timely but also belongs to the class of Solomonic wisdom.
Although cities are said to be conquered by numbers, the efficacy of modern technology must not be ignored. Criminals are also getting more sophisticated. This is why FG must pay urgent attention to the need for technological gadgets. In other climes, every policeman is equipped with a walkie-talkie and a pistol. Communication equipment makes it possible for the police to work as a team.
MURIC charges FG to go the whole hug by adopting a policy of ‘one-cop-one-walkie’ and ‘one-cop-one-gun’. Not only that, our police deserves better pay, improved health delivery system, good accommodation and credible life insurance policy. We are ashamed to see policemen in uniform pushing their faulty ram-shackle police vehicles. We are embarrassed each time our policemen pack themselves like sardine inside their vehicles. In Egypt, Libya and Saudi Arabia, it is one car to two policemen. Why should our own policemen be different?
Nonetheless, FG must not concentrate on the police alone for improvements. Other arms of the security agencies like the Department of State Services (DSS) whose numerical strength stands at 33,000 officers and men as at 2008 need government’s intervention.
Permit us to throw in a word of caution before we round up. Former Inspector General of Police, Sunday Ehindero once admitted that there are armed robbers in the police. Therefore Police authorities must not allow the euphoria of mass recruitment to becloud their alertness. Imbeciles, area boys, hoodlums, sworn alcoholics, armed robbers, etc, must be weeded out via rigorous screenings.