Prof. Oyesoji Aremu, a Counselling and Criminal Justice expert from the University of Ibadan, says that to address holistically, issues raised by Nigerian youths, recruitment policies of the police should be based on University and Polytechnic qualifications.
Aremu, who made the suggestion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the #EndSARS protests on Friday in Ibadan, said that such certificates should be the least entry requirements into the Nigeria Police Force.
Aremu, also the Chairman, Educational Management Board, Baptist Mission Schools of the Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC), said the last few days have been very troubling for the officers and men of the police.
“Never in the history of the Police has such opprobrium (harsh criticism) been waged against the force.
“The continued protests only indicate one thing, the deep-seated resentments against the Police. And obviously, it also showed that the public has for long been repudiating police misconducts for violence, extortion, harassment and so on.
“The #EndSARS protests are just a way through which all the resentments are being expressed by the public, especially the youths,” he said.
Aremu noted that the fore-goings call for introspection in respect of rejigging the architecture of the Nigeria Police Force.
“The police structure has been with us for years as bequeathed by the colonial lords.
“Hence, it requires a deconstruction with a view to bringing the agency at par with basic fundamental policing principles which among others include, mission-based and people-friendly policing.
“Although the Police Act of 2020 recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari addressed some fundamental reforms in the force, there is still much to be desired if truly we want to make the police friendly and proactive.
“It is instructive therefore, to address recruitment policies of the force and make University and Polytechnic certificates the least entry requirements into the Police Force in Nigeria,” he said.
The don noted that these minimum qualifications are in use in other climes, that is the practice.
He added that it should also be complemented with psychological assessments of intending police personnel.
“This will go a long way to rejig police image; and possibly, assuage age-long public resentments.
“It should also be made known that true police reforms would not be complete without truly making the Nigerian Police community-driven.
“The expected reforms should also address welfare and wellness of the officers and rank and file as this will go a long way to enhance productivity and as well as reducing burnouts which could predispose police personnel; especially the rank and file to misconducts.
“This will necessitate appropriate funding of the Nigeria Police,” he said.