Despite the EndSARS protest that rocked the country in 2020, some concerned rights groups are still unrelenting in their quest to see the Nigeria Police thoroughly reformed.
To this end, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) is pushing for the unbundling and professionalization of the law enforcement agency.
HURIWA is arguing that unless the Nigeria Police as currently constituted is unbundled and professionalized to legally enforce federal character principles in its top hierarchy rather than the alleged skewed status which favours only the Muslim North, youngsters from some Southern part of Nigeria will not want to be enlisted into the security agency.
The group notes that Police Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, a Commissioner of Police, had said the Nigeria Police extended the online registration in the ongoing 2021 police constable recruitment to Saturday, January 22, 2022, to allow more Southerners to apply.
HURIWA is pointedly saying that measures adopted by the hierarchy of the Nigeria Police to attract Southerners into it are artificial and cosmetic, stressing that rebuilding the Nigeria Police is of imperative need.
It is therefore challenging the National Assembly to rapidly rediscover their parliamentary independence, political will and will to serve Nigeria by amending relevant sections of the extant constitution to make room for comprehensive police reforms including the creation of state police.
In a statement by its Executive Director, Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA is also urging the hierarchy of the Nigeria Police to embark on thoroughly in-house cleansing to weed out bad eggs among it that are usually posted to Southern states to set up Cash extortion rackets as checkpoints and to weed out evil forces within the police serving in some Southern States such as the South East who use extra-legal executions of suspects as modus operandi.
It said that so long as these professional misconduct and criminality are tolerated at the highest levels of the Nigeria Police as presently constituted, it would be difficult to get useful youths in the South who will be willing and available for enlistment into the Nigeria Police Force.
According to HURIWA, “we think the current President has unleashed significant verbal harm and made toxic opinion which dangerously imperils the institutional image of the Nigeria police by making public comments rejecting state police which goes to show that Northern Muslim section of Nigeria is comfortable with the skewed leadership structure of the Police.
“We think that President Buhari’s opposition to any sort of police reforms is one of the fundamental factors which has made a lot of Southerners not to come forward for enlistment into the police force since the status quo means that only police operatives from the Muslim North will get to the peak of their career whereas Southern Christians are alienated and frustrated out in their prime.
“All that an observer needs to do to know that the present-day National Police is Northernised is to listen to public conversations of top or middle-ranking police officers. The language of public conversations amongst Nigeria Police is Hausa. How can you, assure non-Hausa speakers that what we have is Nigeria Police and not Northern Police?”
It is equally demanding the reformation of what it described as “the near-moribund and hijacked” Police Service Commission to ensure that it discharges its mandate optimally and desists from the current modus operandi of incessantly indulging in skewed promotions of Police personnel which substantially and graphically signposts to most Southerners that the police is not Nigeria but a Northern Police Force or better still a Hausa/Fulani Police.
HURIWA, therefore, counselled the IGP Alkali Baba to make commitments to Nigerianise the Nigeria Police Force to accommodate competent and qualified Southerners, who have a passion for law enforcement careers.
It noted that the lasting solution to Nigeria’s Policing nightmares is the setting up of functional State police to operate side by side with a very lean National police as the Americans have with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the various state policing institutions such as the New York Police.