The picture of one of the Police Barracks in Nigeria that surfaced on Facebook, a few days ago, has been eliciting multiple reactions from Nigerians and law enforcement agents in the country.
The photograph is not just a reflection of the squalid, sordid and smelly state of Police Barracks across the Nigeria but also a reflection of the pitiable state of the Nigerian Police and policing in the country.
In other civilized climes, the police is given a pride of place in their national consciousness with their respective governments prioritizing their welfares.
The tools to work including vehicles, equipment, arms and ammunition, robust life insurance, monthly pay as well as allowances are taken very serious by their governments but the case of Nigeria is the direct opposite.
It is shocking to say that a Nigeria police officer or personnel has no comprehensive insurance coverage and in the event of death or accident in the line of duty the personnel or family gets next to nothing. They buy their uniforms, boots, shoes and other working tools.
It is no news that Police barracks across the country are in dilapidating conditions but the repeated failed promises to rehabilitate them by successive governments in the country is a great course for worry and if nothing drastic is done, cases of collapse building may become the order of the day in barracks across the country.
Aside the filthy and sordid states of the barracks, checks by our correspondents showed that the barracks are equally overpopulated, leading to intense pressure on obsolete and inadequate facilities as no additional structures have been put in place for over two decades.
The regrettable part of the story is the fact that it is only a small fraction of the successive budgets for the Police over the years that are released to implement projects and Programmes
Our correspondent gathered that out of the N17 billion budget proposal by the police for the 2018 financial year only N6 billion was released to the Force, a sum that is less than one third of the total budget proposal.
Though repeated calls and text messages sent to the Force Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, were not picked or replied, police sources who spoke to our correspondents, on the condition of anonymity decried the situation stating that the neglect of the police over the years by the Federal Government “is embarrassing and a course for concern”.
They accused the government of treating the police as a leper and not deserving of adequate attention by the government adding that the continious neglect of the Police would worsen crime fighting in the country.
A top Police sources who spoke to our correspondent in the course of this report said “the Nigeria Police is over 300,000 man strong. The budget of the Nigerian National Assembly in 2018 was N120 billion, and every single kobo budgeted was released. There was even a supplementary budget for the lawmakers but the police that provides security and protection for the citizenry are not properly catered for in the national budget. In 2018, the police requested for N17 billion in the budget and it was given a paltry N6 billion. Where will the police get the money to renovate the barracks or build new ones? Or take care of the welfare of its personnel? And you expect the best from the police under this situation? It’s not possible”.
The source lamented further that in Police stations across the country, “if you call the police to investigate a case, the victim will have to pay for writing papers to take their statements, pay for transportation to either arrests the suspect or visit the scenes of the crime. It’s sad that you have to provide the police practiceally everything to do their jobs. I ask again how do you get the best from them?
Mr Femi Michael, a social commentator said “If we are quick to accuse the police of corruption, we must also look at their welfare and the provision of conducive atmosphere for them to work. People cannot live and work in inhuman conditions and you still expect the best from them. Police barracks must be given a face-lift”.