Special Report: Nigeria Police Force
In recent times, the Nigeria police force have been involved in not a few political controversies through what is now been termed in some quarters of the country as the excesses of the leadership of the force on some highly sensitive political matters.
Our correspondent takes a look at the intrigues and antics of the leadership of the Nigerian police in recent times in this special report.
The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is the principal law enforcement agency in Nigeria with staff strength of about 371,800 with the position of the inspector general of police, IGP designated as the head of the force and consequently the chief police law enforcement officer of the country.
Till date seventeen IGPs have been appointed by different administrations right from the time of IGP Louis Edet, 1964 to 1966 as the first indigenous IGP to the current occupier of the position, Mr. Abba Suleiman. One thing however that is accustomed to all these men is the word controversy. They have all thrown the Nigerian police force to one controversy or the order.
The police under some of these men, particularly during military era have perpetrate a lot of absurdities in the name of keeping the law ranging from illegal arrest, using uniform to commit atrocities, becoming haunch dogs for some powerful men in the society without recourse for the rule of law and the police force was run like a fiefdom of sort by the IGs and the powers that be. Remember how the police were used to subdued Udi village; remember the case of the Apo six among many others. All those seemed to have rested a bit for some few years past, particularly during the reign of the last two IGP. But the country seems to be returning to that era with the coming in of the new police IG.
Since assuming office in July this year, IGP Abba Suleiman seemed to have attracted more controversies than he and the force can chew. First it was the declaration by the new IG that the police is ready to prevent political aspirants with found culpable of some acts from contesting during the next general elections. And now it is the withdrawal of security aides to the speaker Aminu Tambuwal upon his defection from the Ruling PDP to the Opposition APC with many screaming of the fact that the IG has taken up the role of the judiciary in interpreting the constitution after claiming that the withdrawal was based on section 68 of the 1999 constitution as amended.
At this there is much to ask about the Nigerian police and other security agencies delving recklessly into partisan politics. The intrigues and antics of Joseph Mbu as commissioner of police in Rivers state is still fresh in the memory of many Nigerians and now the police has gone steps higher by doing what some stakeholders, including emphatic Femi Falana, SAN described as illegal policing of the Nigerian nation. At this juncture certain questions come to mind: Which of Nigeria’s constitution or police act conferred the Nigerian police the power to interpret laws in Nigeria? On whose order was the IGP obeying to carry out this malicious act capable of breaking down law and order? Are we not returning to the unpopular years of inspectors General of police running the Nigeria police force as a fiefdom?
However, many Nigerians still see the need for the institutionalization of Nigeria's police force through reforms that will return the glory and dignity befitting the force back and away from the clutches of police bosses who run the force like a mafia.