Mr. Onovo: Another Bad Cop?

By Adeola Aderounmu

Mr. Onovo said he would continue from where the former IGP, Okiro stopped. Where did Okiro stopped? Is this is joke? Mr. Onovo should apologize to all Nigerians for making such a very careless and frightening statement

The statement is a very dangerous one. Nigerians should ask Mr. Onovo for the implication of this statement. Mr. Okiro was a very bad cop. There was no improvement of the Nigerian Police Force under his command. Why would any sane person continue with failures? Words like turning the Police Force around for good would have given a ray of hope.

Under Mr. Okiro, the “National police (and security forces) were reported to have committed politically motivated and extrajudicial killings. Some security forces allegedly killed individuals while trying to extort money from them. Police and military personnel used excessive and sometimes deadly force, and there were reports of security forces committing torture. Police and security forces raped and committed other forms of sexual violence on women and girls. Many prisoners died from treatable diseases due to inadequate medical care”-(Source: The Fund For Peace )

The truth is that the rot in the Nigerian Police did not start with Mr. Okiro. Since Nigeria is under the tutelage of political gangsters, we didn’t expect any magic from a corrupt man and a liar like Okiro but the guy took the rot to a whole new level. With a bad cop like Okiro, Tafa Balogun became a tip of the iceberg. Barely 24 hours to leaving office, Mr. Okiro was soaked anew in new charges of corruption.

In 2008, reports released by Nigerian Human Right Organizations stated that the Nigerian Police was the number one violator of human rights in Nigeria. To this moment, the Nigerian Police have not refuted the statement. It is true. So Mr. Onovo will continue with such a legacy? Really?

Personally I am very, very afraid of the Nigerian Police. Each time they stop me on the road for normal vehicle checking, they always collect money from me. I have heard many stories of how innocent people have been shot dead and framed up. What am I supposed to do when they point their guns on my head? What are we supposed to do as ordinary Nigerians when the one who should protect us is threatening us with guns?

I have no iota of confidence in the Nigerian Police. In the last few weeks the reported cases of robbery, assassinations, kidnapping and general crime rate across Nigeria has escalated at an alarming rate. I don’t blame all of these on the Nigerian Police, not at all. This is a country where there is no plan for anyone not connected especially politically and where social security is zero.

I have written times without number that no single problem in Nigeria can be solved in isolation. In Nigeria, governance is non-existent. 2011 is already stolen. Another 6 years of deep-seated corruption, looting and further infrastructure decay has been sealed. Therefore it will be unfair to single out a department for outright bashing. I was just worried that Onovo promised to continue with failures.

The Nigerian Police Force, like the rest of us and our public institutions, is suffering from neglect. The Police Fund disappeared under Obasanjo and we don’t know what has happened to the family members of Obasanjo who allegedly stole the money. What has been done in the last 10 years to ensure that the Police stay one or two steps ahead of the criminals and robbers?

What are the roles of the Nigerian Police in the peculiar Nigerian Political arrangement? Have the Nigerian Police also decamped to the PDP? Specifically, with Ekiti in mind, in what ways have the Nigerian Police joined the PDP in destroying the foundations of our democracy?

Is it possible for the police to redeem its image as a drunken, red-face, money collecting gun trotter? How will the police ensure the protection of lives and property under Mr. Onovo? How can the Police become my friend? In 2011, as everyone continue to decamp to the PDP, what will be the role of the police in ensuring that my vote is counted?

Finally, Mr Okiro may have laid the foundation for the anticipated failure of Mr. Onovo. Hear him: Nigeria is one nation, no matter where you come from. We have to fight and die for the country and I will want all of you to support the president.

If Onovo supports Yar’ Adua (which is expected because he was appointed by Yar’ Adua), he will probably stand on the wrong side of history. But all men have a choice of how they want to be remembered in true historical scripts. This is like one of those movies-you can predict how you think it will end by looking at the names of the actors. 2011 and 2013 are around the corner. The end

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