Reports say police morale is low following the vicious attacks from hoodlums in the wake of the #EndSARS protests.
Twenty-two (22) policemen were reported to have been killed during the days of madness across the nation. For the first time, we witnessed policemen flinging away their uniforms and running from the angry mob; hoodlums had a field day destroying institutions that symbolized justice; police stations, courts, prisons. They didn’t spare the Oba of Lagos, (was it because the Oba is an ex-policeman? Who knows?
Further, they set many prisoners free and murdered the policemen they caught.
The anger against police brutality in Nigeria has never been this visible, never been so bold and so audacious! Hoodlums hiding under the guise of the #EndSARS movement invaded not just police stations, their barracks and disarmed them; they also reportedly stole guns and uniforms.
As a result, many policemen fled the streets from fear of being lynched by the mob.
It’s a shame that we have degenerated to this level; where mayhem has become the order of the day. A situation in which the the police flee from the people they are meant to serve and chaos reigns with brazen ferocity.
The Police couldn’t believe people would stand by and watch hoodlums chase after them and beat them to a pulp…
It was reported that the police service commission “stressed that policemen did not deserve to be killed and should in fact be protected as fellow human beings.”
But some Nigerians think the police shouldn’t be so surprised. Too long have they heard stories of how the police go after innocent Nigerians; making their lives living hell through extortions.
There are hundreds of innocent Nigerians who died unnecessary deaths because of police brutality. Have you read stories streaming out from the Lagos State panel of Judicial Inquiry set up after in the wake of the #EndSARS protests to investigate complaints of human rights violations by men of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad? These are horror stories!
The police had morphed from being our friends to foes with the deadliest forms of revenge. They became vengeful lords, tools of fear and oppression for the rich and politicians; they meted out their own ‘justice’ simply by hearing just one side that plied them with money.
Merely looking at a victim they could decide whether they are fraudsters; who if they part with the right amount will be let off the hook.
Indeed, the police became an institution many fear; liars who twist the truth to favour those who part with money, even blood money.
There’s no point regurgitating. Even if you haven’t read the stories, the tales told by everyday Nigerians of their nasty encounters with police, will suffice.
To be honest, not all police are bad! I have encountered a few good men among them. Therefore, to tar all of them with one brush is most unfair.
So really, why is police morale down?
The police service commission missed out a vital part. The police are not necessarily experiencing low morale based on the recent attacks on their person in the wake of the #EndSARS but the fact that if they died or if anything bad had happened to them, while on duty, they are doomed to be neglected by the authorities and their families, who are already deprived, will suffer even more!
ALSO READ: #EndSARS: Dear Nigerian youth, do you know hoodlums have hijacked your cause? – Peju Akande
The average policeman in Nigeria suffers gross lack!
Policemen in Nigeria are underpaid, undertrained, unmotivated and over-utilised. Any wonder why many turn rogue?
It is lack that makes the average policeman a hard-bitten man. He has to pay for his own uniform, buy his own boots, give returns to certain DPOs every day. Have you seen where he lives? Police barracks are the worst barracks in Africa!
The average policeman lives like an animal. His children are hungry. His wife is perpetually angry because there is neither money to feed the family nor basic amenities to live in convenience!
This is the same man the authorities have given a gun!
Nothing is done to improve the quality of his life and yet we expect him to be amenable to dispatching his duties daily. How?
We need to stop paying lip service to how our police live. Granted no policeman the world over lives in affluence. After all, policing is a selfless service to humanity but to ask a debased man; one who has no idea how to feed his family, provide the most basic needs of clean water; good school, decent environment for his family… to serve civil society and arm him with a gun is to make a monster of him.
The real reason police morale is low is because the job they do is dangerous and there is no compensation for it.
We need our policemen. We need to encourage them, insist on improving the quality of their lives. The alternative is no alternative.
Of recent, it seems the police have left us to our fate, especially after the #EndSARS saga.
Reports say that there has been a cult war raging in Oworo in the last few days. However, the police in that axis have refused to be involved. Other such sordid stories are springing up and the police are said to be avoiding these hotspots.
They don’t want to be used to ‘shine’ by area boys.
Civil society must insist on better policing and better ways to motivate these men and women who often risk their lives for us. The president has promised a salary increase so, maybe after this, those who went rogue will find no reason to, anymore…
Just a thought!