In a democratic society like ours, the role of security agencies cannot be overemphasized. Apart from protecting the lives and properties of the citizenry, they also help to fight crime. This is because the society as an organization is made up of both the good and the bad elements, and it is quintessential for the bad elements to be flushed out of the system to avoid moral decadence and large scale corruption.
In other countries around the globe, security agencies are seen as the friends of the public and protectors of human interests. Hence, the reason while the members of the public have unrestricted access to these security agencies at all times and in all situations. These security forces in return ensure that they justify the confidence the public and the government has in them by working assiduously to combat crime, punish and arrest criminals and law breakers and also maintain a high sense of societal peace and tranquility.
The reverse seems to be the case in Nigeria as security agencies are seen as enemies of progress who are out there to harass anyone without restraint from any quarters. Many at times, citizens are often scared of reporting criminal cases to them as the offended is often manipulated and made the offender. In some other instances, law enforcement agents who are meant to bring sanity are the ones destroying the sanity itself.
Records abound of law enforcement officers who liaise and collaborate with criminals towards aiding and abetting crimes. Afterall, they always get their own share of the “KOLA” in the long run.
In the last few days, it is as though these officers have suddenly turned themselves to the devil’s advocate as they have made life miserable for some people. I will cite two instances.
A forex trader who I wouldn’t want to give full details about was reported to have committed suicide following the nasty experience he had with some law enforcement agents. The victim who was an undergraduate student in one of the nation’s premier university, was arrested and made to confess to a crime he knew nothing about. He and other friends of his were paraded like highway robbers. This led to the victim committing suicide as he was unable to come to terms with the whole incident.
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As if that was not enough, a woman who had her daily means of survival from the sales of pharmaceutical items was said to have complained bitterly about how some Naval Officers came to her shop and razed it down having ignited it with fire. One begins to wonder when Naval Officers who are meant to fight and protect the nation’s borders on sea suddenly turn “area boys” setting up fires in an attempted show of power and authority.
Several other instances abound. Some of these officers have raped, maimed and even sent hapless individuals to their untimely graves, all because these officers feel they can utilise the state power given to them at will and use it arbitrarily. It is sad that all these activities are been portrayed to the people of the outside world. Nothing can be worse than a person exposing his or her “nakedness” to the outer world.
I feel time is up for relevant stakeholders in the security sector to take action and overhaul the industry for optimum performance. There should be limitations on the things a security officer can do in the name of performing his or her legal duties.
There are several security agencies set up in Nigeria to perform various functions at various times. These include: the Nigerian Police Force, The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, The Federal Road Safety Corps, The Military (Army, Air Force and Navy), The Nigerian Customs Service, The Immigration Department and the Correctional Services Department formerly known as the Prisons Service. In extreme cases, some of these agencies should be scrapped as there has continued to be a clash of question over who does this and who does that. Many at times, some of these agencies perform the same function. Why then the need for duplicating powers?
Furthermore, many of these officials should be subjected to mental rehabilitations at intervals. This is to prevent them from acting irrationally to innocent citizens. Many of these face several issues which according to psychological experts could increase the rate of aggression. Trainings and re-trainings should be organised for these people. It is totally absurd when most times I hear of reports that innocent citizens who have been blessed by the goddess of hard work are seen as “Yahoo Boys”, “Fraudsters” and “Criminals“. All these are issues that need to be addressed.
Conclusively, entitlements and other juicy packages which might warrant positive attitude to work should be given to deserving officers. This will reinforce food behaviour and nip the bad ones in the bud.
You have other suggestions? Do share them in the comments section.