The former Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu on the 31st March 2021 commissioned the new Nigeria Police Radio, 99.1FM, in Abuja. The project, according to him, is a bid to improve their relations with the public.
In his address, the former IGP stated that the radio station will offer community-based radio broadcast facilities. However, the big question is: will the radio station be objective with its programmes?
Following last year’s protests against police brutality that rocked several states across the country, the relationship between the police and the citizens has dipped to its lowest point. Without being sentimental, efforts to repair the relationship are welcomed. A country cannot survive an unhealthy relationship between the police and the people. Nevertheless, the most effective way to repair the image of the police force is to overhaul the entire system and rid it of corruption, extrajudicial killings, extortion, unprofessional conduct among others.
If the radio platform is run to engage, enlighten and inform the public on policing activities and other security-related matters, it would help the police themselves and the people.
The radio channel has to champion liberty and rule of law; sensitise the people to know the limitation to police duties and allow programmes to be aired for victims of human rights violations by the police.
For the station not to serve as a tool of propaganda, I suggest that programmes on legal assistance, human rights education, among others, should be on the menu.
It would also be preferable if its reach could be expanded to include all states across the federation. Since the concept of broadcasting to a broader audience through digital applications is not yet entirely effective to the grassroots, the NPF should thus ensure its state commands across the federation set up this initiative too.
I believe the station will not only help reduce crime and insecurity through mass education but curb the excesses of some of the police officers to respect people’s liberty and fundamental human rights.
Nigeria Police 99.1FM can only bring the police closer to the people once it is set to erase the culture of impunity, and this is achievable if the station is run as “voice by the people, voice of the people and not (only) voice for the people.”
Hammed J. Sulaiman is a student of law at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto