How To Get A Quick Police Promotion
THOUSANDS of police officers eyeing promotion in Nigeria are already biting their fingers, wishing they had done something akin to what Sergeant Godwin Hosea did to become an Inspector.
At a ceremony, last week, Bauchi State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed K. Mohammed, (represented by Deputy Commissioner, Sumonu Abdumalik) decorated Hosea, urging “other officers and men to emulate the newly promoted and harness their God-given talent in order to move the Force and the nation forward.”
During a July 22, 2015 working visit to the state Command by Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Solomon Arase, Hosea had presented the First Cop with “a fabricated bullet proof jacket, which he manufactured locally and at an affordable price.” Consequently, “a visibly happy Inspector-General INSTANTLY promoted the Sergeant to the rank of Inspector with effect from July 22, 2015.”
Ordinarily, many Nigerians have little confidence in made-in-my-country goods, preferring foreign brands. Without sounding unpatriotic, many a citizen might recall sad experiences with some locally made goods that failed just when their services were needed the most. So, when news flew around about a police officer “fabricating” a bulletproof vest, of all the nation’s fabricate-able items, expectedly, it sparked interest.
“Can anything good come from a Nigerian policeman? They are only good at collecting bribe and probing nursing mothers,” said Ice Dude on one of the social media platforms. “The IGP should wear the vest and let’s test if it works,” said Darlynstar, and to which Baatunde replied, “Haba! You wan kill Oga? You think say he has enough confidence in the bulletproof?”
And so, the first question The Guardian put to DSP Haruna Muhammed, Bauchi State Police Public Relations Officer, was: “Has this thing been tested?” The answer was an instant: “Yes. Yes, of course.” The “of course” could perhaps be interpreted to mean: “What do you take us to be? Nitwits? Numbskulls? You think someone would bring a bulletproof vest to us and we wouldn’t have sense enough to pump hot lead into it? Eh ehn?” (Bros, it’s not like that. It’s just that…hmmm. Eba and Okro soup still sweet o.)
“It was fabricated locally, using local materials,” said Muhammed. “A unit of it was produced at the rate of (just) N15,000. Producing it locally is cost effective. And a little amount will enable the Force to produce more. I don’t know the actual price of the imported version. But what I know is that the one produced by that Inspector is affordable and it is handy, considering the nature of the situation we are in, and then effort by the IGP to make sure that the Force is better equipped and well motivated.”
An online check revealed that bulletproof vests come in different shapes, sizes and specifications with a wide range of manufacturers. A random array of price tags included $385.00, $499.95, $569.00, $749.00, $239.00, $239.00, $260.00. Very few results yielded prices in the $170.00-$200.00 range. And some varieties sold for as much as $995.00.
On its page, www.bulletsafe.com writes of a particular offer: “A great bulletproof vest at an unbelievable price! The BulletSafe Vest offers level IIIA (3A) protection for just $299. NIJ Level IIIA is enough protection. (It) will stop handgun rounds up to a .44 Magnum! This level of protection is available for the unbeatable price of $299.00! BulletSafe vests are the best value in body armour. Order yours today!”
Even for a conservative purchase of $170.00 per unit, the Nigeria Police Force will protect the average policeman with N33,838.15 (at an exchange rate of N199.0500 to a dollar). Doing the same for its estimated 375,000-strong Force will gulp N12,689,306,250! (That is not to mention miscellaneous expenses, like cost of the bags the money would be stashed into, cost of a leased aircraft for the overseas flight, lodging and feeding for the team that would scout for and make the purchase, cost of transporting the vests to all the police formations, and cost of SMS alerts informing each policeman to come pick his armour.)
Recourse to Hosea’s ingenuity, however, would be N5, 625,000,000, saving the nation a whooping N70,643,062.50! Little wonder IGP Arase “Invited him to Abuja for further discussions on how to make the product available to the entire officers and men of the Force.”
Some online commentators, of course, welcomed the entire development with one Andyanders writing: “(Hosea is) the only reasonable police officer I have EVER seen doing what a reasonable officer (ought to) do. If the energy they (dissipate) in collecting money at checkpoints (is) channeled through this kind of personal effort by this officer, Nigeria would be a better place and police can now be tagged friends of the citizens. Good work, my brother!” For POSA, it was: “This is the kind of attitude and creativity we need to move our country forward. Well done, Mr. Hosea!” Emmanuel Kalu also chipped in: “Even if it is just a singlet, there’s need to support this man. Of course, it would have been tested…Give the man the support he needs. I am sure Nigeria is importing (vests) from China or India.”
But how about this? BREAKING NEWS: Six daredevil armed robbers in bulletproof vests, yesterday, stormed a commercial bank, carting away millions of naira and leaving behind a trail of blood…Now, don’t ask how the robbers got the vests because the narrative is mere fiction; a mere story DSP Muhammed says can never come to pass.
“In the police, we have our own ethics and codes. And one of the ethics of the Force is to make sure that it is absolutely confidential, and then we are guided by official secrets. So, I don’t think if somebody can go to such an extent to produce something that is going to impact positively on the Force and the nation at large… would now have to go through the back door and give it to people of undesirable character, knowing fully that they are going to use it against the very Force that it is supposed to serve. That (insinuation) is an opinion of an ordinary Nigerian. And they are entitled to their own opinion,” he said.
DSP Muhammed explained further: “It goes to show that we have a listening IGP who is ready to motivate the officers and men, in order to enable them harness their potentials, so that their potentials would be useful to the Nigeria Police Force in particular and to the nation at large.
“It will serve as a basis upon which other officers will now emulate, because they have now realised that their effort will not be in vain, by exhibiting their talents in order to move the Force forward. Their talent will be recognised, and they will be motivated.”
With these words, it appears IGP Arase’s tenure might be in for a big surprise. Now that policemen know they have a listening, watching and reward-doling Chief Policemen, one that wants them to exhibit “their talents”, it is imagined thousands of officers awaiting promotion would swing into action.
There might be a lot more fabricating and even outright invention. There might be gallant services to the fatherland. There might be policemen and women doing exceptional things, certain that if it is Arase, butter will come to bread. It is also hoped that the man is prepared to keep his eyes, ears and hands open to identify fresh ‘fabrications’ and others that, over the years, have gone unnoticed.
The field of ingenuity is truly vast. One officer would fabricate much-needed communication gadgets. Another might refurbish a rickety patrol vehicle. One might manufacture a device, which, from headquarters can pinpoint illegal checkpoints at any part of the country. Some skillful Constable might produce a scanner that can decipher the contents of officers’ pockets at Ladipo International Market, Lagos, or a device, which, fixed to a rifle, can prevent ‘accidental discharge’. That is not to mention a body camera that records a policeman’s outings or software that identifies potential trigger-happy cops.
Whatever way it finally ends, the police and the country would be the better, and Arase the merrier, perhaps going down in history as the Inspector-General of Police who triggered the ‘fabrication boom’.
Salute to Inspector Godwin Hosea!