e congratulate the newly appointed Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and welcome him to the top seat at the Louis Edet, House, Abuja. He has a daunting job as the head of the Nigeria Police and the most immediate is the general elections, holding in the coming weeks, between February 16 and March 2.
It is noteworthy and gratifying that Adamu pledged shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari decorated him with his new rank in Abuja last week that he would be fair to all political parties and candidates, contesting for positions in the elections.
The Nigeria Police had rules of engagement and they would be strictly applied as it concerns the elections, the new police chief had assured.
IGP Adamu must walk the talk and break off from the experience of his predecessor, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, who was largely perceived to have used his exalted office for political partisanship and witch-hunt.
In fact, one of the first decisions of the new IGP was reversal of the last-minute shuffling of commissioners of police.
In Lagos, the opposition party had already raised concerns about the new appointee, Deputy Commissioner Kayode Egbetokun, who had previously served as chief security officer to the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, while he was governor of the state. Even though nobody can honestly accuse Tinubu of any duplicity in the redeployment, Egbetokun’s posting to Lagos just before the elections was believed to be without honest and patriotic intentions by a police leadership that was supposed to be unbiased.
Not only must Adamu ensure fairness to all candidates in the elections, he must quickly put in place adequate security measures for safety of lives and property and guarantee a hitch-free process to sustain our fledgling democracy. Nigerians deserve no less.
Beyond the general elections, unarguably the most important task before IGP Adamu is changing the image of the police as a corrupt, inefficient and brutal security organisation.
While it is public knowledge that the police have rules of engagement subscribed to by its officers and men, the conduct of its personnel largely betray adherence to these rules.
The unprofessional conducts of the bad eggs in the Nigeria Police are so widespread, as to tempt a sweeping conclusion that the force is almost irredeemable. To exemplify the inefficiency of the police, its basic functions of keeping the nation free of armed robbers, kidnappers, bandits and other undesirable elements are now being performed by the military.
Yet, it must be noted that there are also many incorruptible, committed and thorough-bred professionals, serving diligently in the Police.
The new IGP must immediately embark on measures to redeem the image of the police and ensure that the force effectively and efficiently performs its constitutional role of securing lives and property.
We urge the police chief to make the restoration of integrity to the force as the core of his reforms. Policemen who uphold integrity will embrace ethics of the profession and rational thinking. They will not be susceptible to corruption and other misconducts.
We also urge the inspector-general to set up an integrity, compliance and reward unit within the existing human resource department of the force to engage in massive education and awareness campaign to re-orientate and reinforce the minds of the personnel positively.
This newspaper further urges Mr. Adamu to conduct random illicit drug test as well as psychiatric examination on policemen to determine their mental capacity and suitability for police work.
The IG X-Squad, an outfit used by some previous inspectors general to curb untoward activities of policemen nationwide must be resuscitated to conduct bust operations to keep the personnel in check.
All said, reforms in the police must not be limited to punishing misconducts. Reward systems and other welfare packages must also be instituted, and where already existing, enhanced to encourage discipline, selflessness and hard work.
The challenges of the Nigeria Police are arduous, but not insurmountable. It only takes knowledge, passion and commitment by the leadership to make the difference. We hope that IGP Adamu is equal to the task and wish him a successful tenure.