This is going to be controversial.
When l was growing up, there used to be what was then known as Special Constabulary in the Nigerian police. They were not full-time policemen.This was mainly made up of professionals who performed ad hoc activities for the police. My father was one of them. He was then a senior civil servant before he retired into business. But he started, l think, as an Inspector. Then their uniform was khaki top and shorts, with long stockings. From there, he rose to become an ASP and retired as a DSP.
He served the Special Constabulary in charge of the Command of the then Ondo province for 20 years (1954 – 1974). When we polished his police shoes, you must see your reflection on the shoe before handing it over to him. Then he wore long khaki trousers, instead of knickers. They usually went for parades at the police headquarters, Akure, on weekends. I am not too sure now if they were paid some stipends or it was purely a pro bono service. I think my elder brother, Francis Akinnola can help me out here.
At that time, the police were very efficient and well respected. Despite the paucity of technology, you would marvel at how deep were their investigations of crimes, particularly in the 60s and 70s.
But towards the late 70s and early 80s, the rot began to set in. Today, though we still have some very efficient, resourceful and honest policemen, they are grossly in the minority, hence their impact cannot be felt.
Some years ago, when MD Abubakar was appointed the IGP, l told a friend that Abubakar was a good choice, following his career as CP in Lagos but that he won’t achieve much because the problems confronting the Nigerian police is more SPIRITUAL than institutional.
I know many would dismiss this as a religious hocus pocus, but l tell you, the deluge of millions of CURSES being spewed forth on hourly basis in the past four decades, on Nigerian police by the citizens who have been victims of injustices, wickedness and unfairness, are working negatively on the Force and except these curses are broken or spiritually mitigated, if you like, bring the head of FBI or British Metropolitan police to be the IGP, the reforms would only be superficial.
Scores of innocent blood are crying for vengeance; scores of cries of anguish of many who are deliberately, unjustly incarcerated for offences not committed, are crying for justice. The curses and negative words come daily, in fact, hourly.
You think this is hogwash? Wait till you read Matthew Asimolowo’s classic book on “What is wrong with being black?”, which was a well-researched Biblical and sociological text, an exposition taken right from the time of Noah.
Yes, there have been tonnes of reports on police reforms right from the time of Alozie Ogugbuaja till now, but whatever is done today would only be superficial, except those curses are broken because as the Bible says, we are ensnared by the words of out mouths. And this is without prejudice to some few outstanding policemen in our midst. Their output is just scratching the matter on the surface.