We must fix the Nigerian Police, restore citizens confidence – Gbajabiamila


The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila says that the Nigerian Police Force must be repositioned for enhanced service delivery.

Gbajabiamila made the statement at a One-Day public hearing on organised by the House Committee on Police Affairs on Tuesday in Abuja.

Gbajabiamila said that more than any other institution of State, the police force relates most with the citizens on daily basis.

He said that in many communities across the country, the Police is the only representative of the Nigerian state.

The speaker said that the connection between citizens and the state is often defined by their interactions with the Police.

“It is unfortunate and entirely unacceptable that the relationship between the police and many of these communities is now defined by fear, mutual antagonism and an absolute loss of faith in the ability of the police to protect and to serve.

“In the last few days, we have all witnessed as the city of Sagamu in Ogun has been unsettled by an orgy of violence resulting from the extrajudicial killing of a young footballer by officers of the Nigerian Police.

“Citizens who gathered to protest this killing were soon themselves the receiving end of police bullets.

“This is not an isolated incident, we are daily inundated with news reports of interactions between citizens and the police resulting in the injury and death of those citizens,” he said.

Gbajabiamila said that reports of police harassment of young people have become so rampant.

“We can no longer stand for this, and we will not. This House of Representatives has a responsibility to speak for our citizens and we will continue to do so even when it is inconvenient.

“The first responsibility of the state to its citizens is to protect life and property. Everything else flows from this fundamental obligation.

“When the agencies we rely on to serve this purpose become predatory, they lose the faith of the public and become incapable of delivering on this responsibility.

“When the public is afraid of the police as they are of the criminals, and perhaps even more so, the very fundamentals of our nationhood are at stake.

“We are confronted with an urgent need, deserving of our utmost attention and dedication.

“We must fix the Nigerian Police, restore public confidence and make the institution once more deserving of the true faith and support of the Nigerian people,” he said.

The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Bello Kumo (APC-Gombe) said that the hearing was to enable stakeholders cross fertilise ideas to reposition the force.

He said that government cannot do it all alone, hence the need to create enabling environment to address for the private sector to take the lead.

Kumo said that the security situation in the country shows that the police was yet to get it right saying that it might not necessarily be the entire fault of the force

He urged stakeholders at the hearing to come up with ideas to reposition the Nigerian police force and enhance its service delivery. (NAN)