Last week, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris disclosed that the force lost 128 personnel in the last three months in various parts of the country. The police topmost boss said that the officers were killed by those he described as undesirable elements in the communities. That disclosure, in our opinion, in a country that has become so used to killings and all kinds of atrocities, is good. The killings remain highly condemnable. Such incident is a sad and ugly development, and the circumstances surrounding it needs drastic measures to be taken. Reason is that we cannot afford to have our police force get so depleted by miscreants scattered all over the country, when It is already public knowledge that the country is under-policed. In fact, currently, according to statistical data from the IGP, there are only 338,490 police officers in the country, and not enough for the enormous responsibilities the officers have at hand. And going by the United Nations standard recommendation, one police officer is to take care of 400 civilians. In our case here in Nigeria, only one police officer is available to cater for as many as 537 Nigerians. Truly, conscious of the overwhelming responsibilities of the force, and in order to take care of problem of under-policing, the the force carried out the latest recruitment of 10,000 persons this year. And that was an interval of six long years, because the last recruitment took place far back in 2010. Incidentally, it was some days after the IGP told a bewildered nation that the force needed additional 116,510 police officers to attain the maximum strength to be able to successfully police the entire population of Nigeria that the topmost police boss disclosed the killing of 128 officers within three months. Although the IGP did not give out the total number of officers killed, say in a year, which could have sent better home the magnitude of atrocities which people of the same country committed against their fellow citizens simply because they are in police uniform, the message all the same has been well delivered. The point has been made that it is bad for persons, for whatever reasons, to kill our police personnel whose primary duty is to protect the citizens. Certainly, we are of the opinion that there is need for every possible action to be taken to ensure that a stop is put to the killing of members of the force. Killing police officers makes a horrible statement. It means that we do not reckon with the fact that it costs a fortune to train our police personnel. It also means that we do not appreciate the indisputable fact that our police personnel play the most important role in internal security in the life of our dear country. It means that it does not bother us that even on international peace keeping missions, as has been the case in various parts of the world, we are not proud of the laurels our police men and woman have won, which positively project the image of the country. Let the truth be told, it is on record that our police officers have discharged their assignments creditably, distinguished themselves and made the country proud. What is expected of every Nigerian is to celebrate our police men and women, and not otherwise. All these and more are reasons enough why their care should be that of everybody, notwithstanding the fact of their human tendency to be found wanting at various angles. And to dwell on the deficiencies of the police is certainly neither here nor there for, after all, and without appearing to be making defences for the bad eggs amongst them, our home environment has been proven to be largely responsible for some of their misdemeanor. It must be stressed that even though certain happenings in Nigeria appear to confirm that life has lost meaning and essence, there can be no doubt that the life of every human person is still very sacrosanct. Life is not like any other thing; it is only God who gives it. So, nobody has any right to lift a finger let alone take away the life of another – that which he/she has not given. And to take the life of a police officer whose duty is to protect the life of another is, to state the least, an abomination. Enough of killing of Nigerian police officers!
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