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What Gaidam must do to reform Nigeria Police Force

There’s a saying that “to whom much is given, much is expected.” Ibrahim Gaidam is, therefore, expected to hit the ground running. The current security…

There’s a saying that “to whom much is given, much is expected.” Ibrahim Gaidam is, therefore, expected to hit the ground running. The current security challenges in Nigeria including insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, violent and organised crime make a compelling case for a reorientation and reform of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).

The police and other security agencies in Nigeria are key players in the Federal Government’s efforts to handle the problems threatening our democracy.

Ending police abuses and increasing police effectiveness and accountability will help to make democracy more meaningful to the majority of the people, especially the poor and vulnerable.

Police personnel are perceived as inefficient and corrupt, previous Police reform efforts seem to have been motivated by the need for regime survival, rather than an attempt to make policing more effective.

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In order for police reforms in Nigeria to be effective, certain structural changes are necessary. Key institutional reforms must be implemented for community-based policing to be effective, including decentralisation of authority and so on.

The Ministry of Police Affairs was established, among other things, to give attention to re-equipping and re-tooling the police, remodel policing infrastructure via the government community policing initiative and promote commitment to duty through the improvement of welfare for our Policemen and women in this country.

The ministry has the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Police Academy (NPA) and the Police Trust Fund (PTF) as the three agencies under its supervision and is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that policing this country is citizen-centred and civil in the performance of their duties.

The Renewed Hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has captured the need to create a more effective, accountable and responsive police institution; better able to fight crime and secure the lives and property of citizens through operationalization of the provisions of the Police Act 2020. This requires a transitioning away from the NPF of today to the NPF of the future.

There is no gainsaying the fact that building trust and nurturing legitimacy on both sides of the police/citizen divide is the foundational principle underlying the nature of relations between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.

If the police are to carry out their responsibilities according to established policies, those policies must reflect community values. The use of technology can improve policing practices and build community trust and legitimacy, but its implementation must be built on a defined policy framework with its purposes and goals clearly delineated.

Given the complexity and diversity of the society, policing must be reimagined and reinvented as a partnership between the police and the public. Community policing which emphasizes working with local residents to co-create public safety must be entrenched as a guiding philosophy for all stakeholders.

As the scope of law enforcement’s responsibilities expands, the need for expanded and more effective training becomes critical. Officers must be trained and enabled to address a wide variety of challenges including international terrorism, communal conflicts, evolving technologies, changing laws, new cultural mores, and a growing mental health crisis.

The proper implementation of measures designed to guarantee officer wellness and safety is essential to boosting morale and increasing productivity.

In line with the unwavering determination of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to address the several security challenges which had bedevilled the country over the years, we have no doubt that the Ministry under Ibrahim Gaidam is poised to do its best to work out a strategy and contribute to efforts towards the repositioning of the Nigeria Police Force for the protection of lives and property and to ensure sustainable economic growth and development.

Yusuf Ali wrote from Damaturu

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