Can New Recruits Change Shameful Reputation of Nigerian Police?


The police are the most-derided members of Nigerian society; they are worse than lepers, considered malevolent outcasts, feared and hated, avoided and scorned, tolerated and loathed.

In Nigeria today, it is nearly impossible to find a child who wants to grow up to be a policeman, and any youngster who publicly considers it as a future career is guaranteed to get a few stares from his or her audience.

The top brass of the Nigerian police establishment are quick to admit that police simply have an image problem. And while this is true, the police’s problems go beyond mere public perception.

The police are a living, breathing representation of all that is wrong with Nigerian society: the promotion of mediocrity, the abusing of power with impunity, and a skewed reward system prevades its ranks.

The Nigerian police is indeed one of the most corrupt organisations in the world, and it is often impossible to reconcile the actions of the Nigerian police with the understood goal that it is supposed to be the watch dog of society.

The Nigerian police is critically understaffed with about 371,800 officers within its ranks. This is grossly inadequate in a country of about 170 million, meaning there is 1 policeman for every 450 citizens.

Barely trained and poorly armed with a dismally low level of morale, the Nigerian police is in dire need of a shake-up. And with his anti-corruption agenda, President Muhammadu Buhari seems like a man who knows this only too well.

Earlier this year, the government announced that it was recruiting 10,000 young men and women to join the police force.

The response so far has been astounding.

More than 800,000 young men and women have applied for the available slots so far. The apparent desire by so many young Nigerians to enter the force may seem like an overwhelming display of patriotism, but that isn’t accurate.

Instead, it is a clear indictment of the perilous state of affairs in Nigeria today: some estimate that youth unemployment is at an unbelievable 80 percent. it is both a mystery and a testament to the famous “Nigerian spirit” of boundless optimism that a violent uprising hasn’t occurred by now.

Second, the sheer number of applicants highlights the pervasive perception that a career in the police force is open to just about anybody. The Nigerian police force has earned the reputation as the receptacle for the dregs and misfits of urban society, including drug addicts, rogues, alcoholics, and petty criminals.

To be fair, a good number of applicants are also well-educated, university-trained but they have no real desire or passion for the profession and are only ready to take up the paid employment as a last resort.

This sort of desperation is never a good thing. It all too easily corrupts good morals and deadens the conscience, and it may very well be the harbinger of of unfortunate events to come.


Last Edited by:Sandra Appiah Updated: July 25, 2016


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates