Policemen deserve sympathy

Nigerian_Nigeria_army_soldiers_news_01December2008_003SIR: I have for long expressed displeasure with the Nigeria Police. Many a time have I posted write-ups on why the police have to be restricted. The persistent insecurity witnessed in Nigeria is overwhelming. I do get frustrated when I sight police patrols on highways demanding bribe from motorists. Nigerians prefer to entrust their safety in the hands of vigilantes to government securities.

Then I begin to ponder what could be responsible for the laxity in service of the police? Why are men of the Nigeria police incompetent in tackling “internal crisis”? Why are the police operatives stooping so low in violating the same law they should apply?

I decided to halt my usual criticism and consult some policemen to hear their side of the story. I was then able to ascertain that we Nigerians have been insensitive to the feelings, yearnings, and aspirations of members of the Nigeria police, and we have subjected them to needless criticism. Findings have shown that policemen work between 12 and 18 hours daily, more than any average Nigerian worker. They don’t even have opportunity of changing their clothes. They have no Saturday, Sunday and they are not paid anything in lieu of the extra working hours. Under the military regime, policemen were frustrated and even now politicians are not showing good examples. The ratio of policemen to civilians is about one to 400 and yet Nigerians expect police intervention in all internal crises within minutes of occurrence.

Nigerians do blame the police for engaging in shady deals and bribery but we have also failed to realise how much a police recruit collects as salary? We will be shocked and baffled that Nigeria police are overworked and yet underpaid.

• Stephen Akinola,
Lagos.



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