Lessons from Abroad: Reforming the Nigerian Police

In Nigeria, the police is vilified virtually by everybody that have had the ‘misfortune’ to come into contact with them. Much of this vilification, hinges on their lack of professionalism, indiscipline, corruption and bad policing strategies. The response of the police to this, has always been lack of resources, proper training, and the fact that they are also a mirror, reflecting the values – positive or negative - of the larger Nigerian society. The truth of the matter lies in-between both contentions.

The Police Service Commission is the apex Commission charged with the discipline, promotion and regulation of all police officers in Nigeria. They have the statutory responsibility of shaping the values, ethos as well as enforcing those good and bad conducts of the police. The Commission ironically is still obscured to many Nigerians, except of course during elections and electioneering campaigns, when they put out warning and information notices to appeal to Nigerians.

Reading the article by A. M. Blackmore entitled – Correcting Miscarriages of Justice http://www.odpp.nsw.gov.au/speeches/CORRECTING%20MISCARRIAGES%20OF%20JUSTICE.html you cannot but get the feeling that the Nigerian Police Service Commission needs to be re-jigged; in concert with the Office of the Federal Attorney General of the Federation. As identified by Blackmore in the said article, the usefulness of the outcomes of the Royal Commission in the New South Wales Police Service, cannot be over emphasised; same can be deployed to deal with the Nigerian situation. Of course, with necessary modifications to suit the Nigerian clime.

A top to bottom strategy will ensure proper reform is achieved, which can then be passsed down the line to the rank and file. The recurring cases of miscarriages of justice in Nigeria leaves much to be desired. Without prejudice to the numerous Commissions, Committees and ‘White Paper’, there is the urgent need to shake up the Nigerian police force. With the recent confirmation of the new Inspector General of Police, M.D. Abubakar, there is no better time than now, to start re-thinking alternative policing strategies that will deliver for the Nigerian people. Read report here http://saharareporters.com/news-page/md-abubakar-confirmed-inspector-general-police-photos

The root causes of miscarriages of justice and wrongful convictions in Nigeria, can be tackled in large part with a functional and professional police force.

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