The recent sacking of 14 police officers by the top echelon of the force for misconduct is an encouraging development, especially if it aims at curtailing corruption among officers and men. The Abuja headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force recently dismissed 14 officers for misconduct, after finding them to be aiding and abetting serious crimes such as conspiring with militants, stealing explosives among other sundry crimes said to be ‘serious.’ The affected personnel are within the ranks of Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP, Police Sergeants and Corporals. Announcing their dismissal, Force Public Relations Officer, Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP Don Awunah said the officers erred and compromised in line of duty by betraying official oath of office. According to the FPRO, the professional misconduct included aiding and abetting serious crimes, conspiracy with militants and disappearance of explosives within their custody. The force image-maker further noted that their dismissal followed due process and aimed at serving as a deterrent to others. He added that the action was in line with strict measures instituted by IGP Ibrahim Idris in ensuring that henceforth the conducts of police personnel conformed with international best practices, norms, while also guarantying that responsibilities of officers and men are carried out professionally without comprising integrity and allegiance to the nation and the Force. This is actually cheering and reassuring, no doubt, if the action of the new police management under Mr. Idris is to fight corruption and abate it to a zero level in the force. Sadly, like every sector of national life, it is common place and knowledge that corruption in the force is legendary and as old as Nigeria. From constituting illegal road blocks for illegal tolls collection to asking for bail gratification, when bail ordinarily should be free, and aiding and abetting serious and heinous crimes, corruption in the police appears to be a high hydra-headed monster that cannot be confronted talk less of eradicating the menace. As it were, the corruption challenge in the police has become intractable because of the circle of
powerful officers even at the top involved. According to checks, it is a circle and a syndicated crime perpetrated from the top to bottom, with the junior cadres usually as foot cops. While this latest swoop is encouraging and reassuring, Abuja’s resolve to weed the force of recalcitrant and criminal elements within, the dismissal of the 14 personnel dismissed who are within the rank and file must be upped, given the outrageous but unreported daily corrupt practices perpetrated by the men at the police divisions, stations, posts and the highways. Significantly, the police echelon can do better if it expands its dragnets further, beyond the offices. Accordingly, it must intensify its klieg lights on officers and men on highway beats who still mount illegal roadblocks with the aim of collecting monies from unsuspecting motorists, despite a recent warning by AIG Dan Bature in charge of Zone 11 comprising Oyo, Osun and Ondo States that it was illegal for the men to check vehicle particulars on the highways instead of policing the roads for safer motoring. We support the action of removing bad eggs in the force by outright dismissal, but due process as in the case of the ‘14’ must always be followed; this is our honest position. In addition, we want to see more senior officers dismissed for corruption related cases instead of the junior cadres who are used and dumped as guinea pigs in the corruption chain. This is imperative, in that corruption in the police is usually likened to a popular saying that there can be no smoke without fire; which means that no corruption can take place within the force without tacit support and approval of the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, as in the case of the division, the states commissioners as for the commands, then the AIGs for the zones and up the ladder in that manner. We state, however, that in truth, there are no way we can quantify the effects of the consequences of corruption by the police on the Nigerian state and her people than to say, it has been disheartening and ridiculous. And the only way to curb the menace is to support the action of IGP Idris which is line with the anti-corruption war of the federal government.