According to the IG, the size of the Nigerian Police currently put at 305,000 policemen and women is not enough to guarantee the security of all segments of Nigeria.
The Police Force and other security agencies in the country have come under severe criticism from members of the public over recent spate of attacks and killings of innocent citizens by herdsmen across the country with particular reference to the invasion of Agatu people of Benue state by suspected herdsmen and that of Enugu state.
The IG, while delivering a public lecture on the topic, “Police and Public Partnership in prevention and control of violent crime and conflicts in Nigeria” at the MultiPurpose Hall of University of Jos on Friday, said the current numbers of policemen and inadequate funding accounts for the inefficiency of the police and its inability to be everywhere in the country.
According to IG Arase, “The organizational structure of the Force consists of the Force Headquarters, 12 zonal commands, and 37 State commands including the Federal Capital Territory. Nigeria Police Force’s staff strength by 31st December 2015 was 305,000. This is inclusive of 1,331 Cadets currently on training at the Police Academy, Kano as well as specialist branches and civilian support staff.
“Female officers in the Force constituted 30,854 (9.47%), while there are 127 area commands; 1,130 police divisions; 1,579 police stations, 2,165 police posts, and 1,591 village police posts (NPF Annual Report 2013: 137).
Speaker further, IG Arase said: “The work of the police in any society is a very difficult, complex and dangerous vocation. The expectations of members of the public in Nigeria are many and varied and exceed the resources and support given to the police. Failures on the part of the police are easily observed and widely reported and condemned while achievements of the police are rarely recognized, applauded and rewarded.
“Police are in constant contact with dangerous persons and in dangerous situations. In spite of the inherent hostile policing environment and sundry challenges, the Nigeria Police has remained steadfast to its responsibility of guaranteeing the safety of the lives and property of the citizens even at the risk of their own lives.
“Between January 2014 – December, 2015 a total of 278 police officers paid the supreme sacrifice in the discharge of their statutory Mandate in relation to enhancement of community peace and security, while 194 others sustained varying degree of injuries. Similarly, between January – April 2016, we have lost a total of 72 Police personnel with 78 others injured in the line of internal security duties. Cases of killing of police personnel have increased since 2009 due to terrorist attacks by Boko Haram.
“Policing in Nigeria is particularly difficult because of several inadequacies. Many scholars and government police reform committees in the country have identified several factors that inhibit police efficiency. Some of the identified problems are:
Inadequate logistic and resources (especially transportation, telecommunication, arms and ammunition, accommodation, etc.) for police services, Inadequate personnel with training, skill and orientation required for policing a country with complex security challenges, Inadequate resources for effective law enforcement, intelligence gathering, criminal investigation and prosecution.
“Other challenges include lack of appropriate police stations, offices, facilities and accommodation, lack of modern forensic laboratory and other technological aid to law enforcement, inappropriate use of arms and ammunitions, absence of reliable and comprehensive criminal database and poor conditions of service, including low remuneration and pension benefits.
“The challenges notwithstanding, Citizens also have a responsibility towards the police. The police will be ineffective if the citizens constantly disrespect, distrust, assault, insult and antagonize the police. The Constitution, in chapter 2 obliged citizens to assist law enforcement agencies as civic responsibility. Unfortunately, most citizens are either unaware of this obligation or chose to ignore it.
Arase suggested that, “In order to enhance police efficiency, develop and sustain effective police-public partnership, citizens and communities should appreciate the duties and powers of the police and avoid criticizing them just of the inconvenience arising from law enforcement intended to guarantee public peace and safety and promote the rights and liberties of others.
“We expect the public to have respect for legitimate authority and laws, parents, religious, traditional and educational institutions should inculcate in children and youth respect for legitimate authorities and laws at all levels of society without shying away from holding those in authority accountable for their actions, decisions and conduct.