Many are quick to put the blame about security problems on the state of the Police and Policing in Nigeria. Attitude they say is everything. Our attitude to life and security as a people is nothing to write home about. Our actions and inactions show how much we value human life. When ten people die as a result of an accident or ailment, it makes headlines abroad but may not disturb many minds here. Some had attributed this to our value system as a people; we do attach little or nothing to human life.



In my piece “The irony of befitting burials” I tried to paint the picture of how much value we attach to burial ceremonies but not to the wellbeing of people. The attitude of many is like that of Cain (AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER?). When armed robbers visited our apartment not long ago, some of our neighbours were hearing their loud voices but none had the courage to alert the Police. Some were too afraid to alert the Police, while others may have felt less concerned because theirs were not penetrable or accessible to the robbers.



On our roads you will always see this attitude on display. Truck drivers do not seem to want to see any other vehicle on their path. The bus drivers, cab drivers, and private car drivers see motorcycles riders and the tricycle drivers as aliens on the road. The pedestrians are at the mercy of all. Some drivers do not display expertise but drive like they manufactured those vehicles; many would tell you how many years they have been on the wheels before your birth. You will always see pedestrians and drivers, or drivers and riders shouting or hauling all manners of weapons at each other on our roads or at the bus stops.



Many had attributed these to impatience. Our impatience can also be attributed to our attitude to time and life. We do not seem to like early preparations, we prefer to rush and make haste at the very last minute. Our fire brigade attitude is seen in all aspects of our life. Even when Africa had not manufactured a wristwatch or clock we prefer using ‘African Time’. People do not move out early to catch appointments, but try to rush their way down few minutes before the time and become part of the menace on the road. People can afford to programme themselves where there are different and functional transport system, but not here where bad roads, traffic and human factors cannot allow such. We therefore need to be time conscious and leave home early enough. 



Is it the sole responsibility of the Police to secure lives and property in our nation? I do not think so. Borrowing the lines of Mr. Ben OkeziePolice no be spirit”. Most things that happened did happen in the midst of people. But the people that were around the scene of those events would never bother to alert the Police. You might see robbers attacking somebody on the road but it is nobody’s business. Even when those people shout for help, help may not come because no one cares. Many robbery incidents would have been taken care of if the people around dared to alert the police or even raised alarm. Many would not even look in the direction of the incident for fear of being called to testify or give the police necessary information needed for proper investigation.



We may have to complain to God and to the gods about the Police and policing when we are not ready to do our part in the security of lives and property. Gone are the days when people knew their neighbours and kept eyes on their children and property. Nowadays, adults do not bother about children on the roads and their safety because they are not theirs. The spate of kidnapping in the land would not have been if we were our brother’s keeper. Most strange movements would have been noticed and tracked if we were security conscious and cared about the man next door. Even though I advocate community policing and Police living with the people, we can be eyes and ears to the Police.



If we must have GOOD POLICE SERVICE, we must also have GOOD PEOPLE’S CO-OPERATION. For us to have a people friendly Police, we may need to have a Police friendly people. Since attitude is everything we need a change of attitude to the security of lives and property. We must learn to watch our brother’s back and be more willing to give the Police alerts and necessary information to be able to arrest certain situations. May I also suggest that the authorities concerned consider changing from Nigeria Police Force to Nigeria Police Service. The Ministry in-charge of National Orientation should also look in the direction of enlightening the people about being police friendly, being their neighbour’s keeper, and releasing necessary information to the Police to help unravel criminal activities in the land. The Police authorities would also need training and re-training of security agents about their attitude to life, arms and avoidance of extrajudicial killings. People who volunteer to give information about criminal activities should not be made to look like they committed a crime by informing the Police. The Police authorities should make sure their Public Relations Officers do not insult the people’s intelligence by their defense of officers’ misdemeanor. Change?  Yes, we can!  






P. O. BOX 17985, IKEJA – LAGOS.

08033001782, 07029447342



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