One of the news from Nigeria this week is that the Nigerian Police are the number one violators of human rights in Nigeria. The news is not shocking or surprising in any way. Nigerians know what the police put them though daily especially on the road where their presence is more of a threat than succour.
I will not waste my time writing about the many ways that the police have vioated human rights in Nigeria. This is because the actions or inactions of the police is a reflection of the governance. The government is sick! If anything is working fine in Nigeria, it will be due to the committment or ingenuity of the individuals making it to work. It is not yet an attribute of governance that certain things work perfectly.
There is a quick need for social re-orientation that governance means selfless service and not a means to acquire ill wealth. The Police are one of the several institutions in Nigeria that need “help”. Like many of us, they are not well paid and the conditions under which they operate is very disheartening. A typical Police station in Nigeria is smelly, dirty, disorganised and lacking in modern sophistication.
A Police Reform Fund was instituted under Obasanjo but the money went to a member of his family. Was it his brother in law? That is the problem with Nigeria! We have the desire to do something but we never implement them. Someone thought that rather than reform the police, he would loot the funds made for the purpose. Someone else is going to do the same if we start another fund. Do you know why? Because thieves always get away in Nigeria. I mean people who steal funds meant for public utility.
There are recommedations flying around the air on how to reform the police and make it work but who cares about that? There are also information under the relevant section of the constitution as to the roles of the Police, so this will not be a forum to tell anyone what the police should be doing. Since the Police do not know what to do, how to do, and perhaps some of them not even knowing their functions, they have decided to acquire the number one position of the human rights violators in Nigeria.