Newsie Events:- #Opinion
The first step in unraveling the problems of today is in looking at the past, it is often said that if you want to know why the present is the way it is, look at the past. This is particularly true of Political systems and institutions and the Nigerian Police is no exception.
The Nigerian Police just like majority of state institutions in Nigeria, is a child of the colonial masters. The colonial masters created the Nigerian police with the topmost intentions of using the institution to protect and ensure its continued domination of the colonised. Protection of life and properties and service to the people are tertiary reasons why the Nigerian Police was created. Its primary responsibility was to suppress the people and ensure that the status quo of colonial domination is maintained. These suppressive traits were consciously engrained in the character of the Nigerian Police so as to prevent rebellion or physical opposition to colonial rule. The masters who created the Police cared about their own security over the security of the persons that were ruling. With the harshness and exploitative policies that came with colonial rule, it is expected that they put up a standby force to prevent the people from standing up against colonial government. This is evidenced in the brutal murder of protesters during the Aba Women Riots of 1929. The Nigerian police were doing its job of suppressing the people to maintain the status quo.
This is in fact a problem of police forces in majority of countries that were colonised. Police brutality is minimal in countries whose Police force are not products of colonialism. Take a look at Britain, Germany, Russia, Norway, Belgium, and other erstwhile colonial masters, you will hardly find cases of Police molesting their people because the police were created for them and not to oppress them.
There is an exception of the United States of America whose colonial experience continued to show forth in the character of its police force. America was colonised by Britain and served as a base for numerous plantation farms where black slaves were forced to work. The colonial masters ensured that the security force it created in the United States was hostile to black slaves and would do anything inhumanely possible to ensure that black slaves were continually oppressed, suppressed, and prevented from rebelling. This was the beginning of police brutality in the African American community. That even when America got her independence, it has found it difficult to get rid of the character of the American Police that is hostile to Black People.
This is the case of Nigeria too – A police that was created to suppress the people. Although the colonial masters can be pardoned for trying to be selfish as at that point in time, what is unpardonable is the unwillingness of the Nigerian political class to alter the negative character of the Police it inherited from the colonial masters.
The colonial masters needed the Police to achieve their selfish agenda, the Nigerian Political class that took over also decided to continue with the structure it inherited because they wanted, like the colonial masters, to have the police force, that will keep the people in control, against their selfish aims. This is why they have failed to pursue holistic police reforms to alter and modify the inherent character of the Police they inherited.
However, there are risks the political elites face in changing the character of the Police from being anti-people to Pro-people. When the Police are no longer an instrument to continue their subjugation of the masses, when the Police take sides with the People, for them and their selfish schemes and years of exploiting the people, it is game over.
Caleb Onyeabor writes from Enugu and can be reached on WhatsApp via +2347032829241
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Newsie Events:- #Opinion