By Lateef Ibrahim Abuja
An Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslims Right Concern, MURIC, has called on Federal Government to empower the Nigerian Police in order to ensure an enduring security of lives and properties in the country, particularly during this festival.
The group specifically reminded the federal government that the security of lives and properties is the basic function of government as enshrined in Article 14 Section 2(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which states inter alia, “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.
MURIC said this in a special message signed by its Director, Prof Ishaq Akintola yesterday to mark this year’s eid el kabir celebration.
The group lamented the spate of killings which took place around the country in the past few months and commended the federal government, the police in particular and other security agencies for rising to the challenge and for bringing the killings to a halt.
It however stressed that there is still much to be done in the area of empowering the police and improving their welfare.
The right concerns, which suggested a stress and anger management mechanism for the police, added that the ministry of police affairs must, as a matter of urgency, establish psychotherapy clinics in every state command where psychiatry and psychology experts can attend to policemen from time to time.
This, it reasoned, will reduce incidents of accidental discharges and anger killings.
MURIC said, “The Nigerian Police remains the best in West Africa. Yet there is no conducive working environment. The welfare situation is near zero. Police staff houses collapse at will.
“Many police stations have no generating sets. They rely on lanterns and candles to work at night. Policemen tax themselves to buy fuel for their patrol vehicles.
“Some police stations have no single patrol vehicle. An example is Iba Police Station in Ojo Local Government, Lagos State. It is more than pathetic. How can policemen in such a station patrol the streets? How can they effect stop and search operations? How can they chase criminals on our roads? How can they tackle armed hoodlums? How can we expect such a national security outfit to be efficient?
“As far back as the late 70s, every policeman in Cairo had a pistol attached to his belt and a walkie-talkie. But in our Nigeria of the 21st century, rifles cannot go round among the police. This is a national disaster and a big shame on a country that prides itself as the giant of Africa. Who did this to Nigeria?
“This poor working condition subjects men of the Nigerian Police to severe stress. Yet they are sometimes made to work round the clock thereby adding to their stress.
“The Inspector General of Police was once reported to have issued an order compelling divisional police officers (DPOs) to sleep in their offices in other to ensure their presence at all times. But how comfortable or convenient are the DPO’s offices?
“What happens to the wives, husbands and children of DPOs who practically live in the police stations? It has great impact on the family system.
“These are some of the causes of accidental discharge and extra-judicial killings. They are products of stress, built-up anger and frustration.”