Across the length and breadth of Nigeria, young Nigerians are leading protests demanding for the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) whilst calling for an overhauling reform of the Nigeria Police Force. The public protest have drawn solidarity and rallying calls from all over the world with the professionalism of the Nigeria Police Force called into question with focus on the disciplinary issues that have crippled the agency.
The United Global Resolve For Peace (UGRFP) wishes to commend the protesters for conducting themselves peacefully and with resilience on their calls for policing reforms. UGRFP also wishes to advise that theprotestors continue to conduct themselves with order and peaceably as violence must never be an option in the exercise of their rights to association and assembly.
The swelling calls for policing reforms especially with regards to disciplinary challenges within the rank and file of the Nigeria Police Force has timed itself on the heels of efforts by the United Global Resolve For Peace (UGRFP) working with the Police Service Commission (PSC- hereinafter referred to as “the Commission”) to address the underlying challenges with the Commission that has crippled its statutory mandate.
The Police Service Commission was set-up as a civilian body to review, discipline and sanction errant officers while operating a reward system for good cops in a bid to engender a culture of professionalism and integrity on the job. Regrettably, the political will to make the Commission function at its barest minimum has been lacking thus setting it up for systematic ruin. The consequence of said ruin has crystallised into the boldness of errant officers whose unlawful actions go without reproach or sanction. The systemic rot the public now see and complain of is directly linked with the non-efficacy of the Commission brought on by hierarchical issues that have divided loyalty to the Commission with the Police Force.
Having identified areas for advocacy and reform, UGRFP undertook several weeks of consensus meetings and stakeholders discussions with the hierarchy of the Commission and the Nigeria Police Force aimed at finding resolutions to the enduring challenge of effective policing and disciplinary measures against errant officers.
For the purpose of records, details of our seminars, workshops and advocacy for police reforms with particular reference to joining efforts with the Police Service Commission to install it as the go-to body for all issues of disciplinary claims against officers of the Nigeria Police Force will be communicated in a broad release subsequently. However, suffice to reiterate our conviction as a group that only by fully empowering the Police Service Commission to function fully and independently within the ambit of its statutory powers will the challenges of policing in Nigeria take on a positive lift and turn. This is, of course, a conclusion arrived at in context of prevailing enabling laws in Nigeria.
We want to restate our readiness to join all genuine efforts to position the country’s policing system within the bracket of acceptable global standards. This can be achieved via communication and consultation, embarked on with civility and guided by the right objectives and intentions.