…emphasizes need to decentralise Nigeria Police Force
Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The President of 2020 Ihiala Anglican Diocesan Synod, The Right Rev’d Prof Israel Kelue Okoye, has enjoined the Federal Government of Nigeria to learn from the lessons of the EndSARS protest.
The prelate said that the abolition of now defunct Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, in the country was spurred by the widespread conviction that once highly admired and respected Nigeria police unit had become an albatross as torture, intimidation and extra judicial killings reigned in their operations.
Prof Israel Okoye who is the Bishop, Diocese of Ihiala, though commended the initial efforts of the police unit said that cruel actions of the SARS officers that triggered October 2020 EndSARS protest demonstrated the extent of brutality by some security personnel who could turn the evil society to jungle.
He said that most Nigerians are not happy with the state of affairs in the country and called on the governments (both state and federal) to learn from the lessons of the protest and do not toy with the lessons.
“One sustainable lesson that has been learnt from the nationwide protest on the SARS quagmire is that no matter how adamant or irresponsive a government may be to the yearnings of the people, the leaders of government must bow before the people the day they rise with conviction to exercise by themselves the power they had left in the hands of the government. If the adamancy and irresponsive attitude of the leaders of any government are fashioned into confrontation with the people it will be tantamount to cowardice and agonizing servitude on the part of the people, to sacrifice their inalienable rights to their parasitic political and economic manipulators who are parading themselves as leaders of government.”
He warned the leaders to sit up to their responsibilities or earn the wrath of the masses letting them know that the silence of the masses when they are subjected to precarious situation is a time bomb that will leave scar in the society.
He chided the federal government and the leadership of the Nigerian police force over their nonchalant supervisory roles. In addition, he questioned the later of being ignorant of the activities of some SARS officers that gave the police unit an inglorious public image.
Prof Israel Okoye who commended various state governments for setting up judicial panels of enquiry, urged them to ensure that the findings of the judicial panels of inquiry would not be treated with levity further alleging that “Nigerian government has certified itself competent in setting up committees and panels of enquiry but has hazardously reneged in implementing findings and agreements.”
The Anglican Prelate was speaking while presenting his Archbishop’s charge during the First Session of the fourth Synod of the Diocese of Ihiala, held at the St. Mark’s Church Umudara, Ihiala with theme “Worship God”.
While he declared the church’s stand against the boiling insecurity in the country, he said that an estimated 11, 500 Christians have been killed across the country while according to him another estimated over three million people have been displaced.
He however condemned the insensitivity of southerners over failure to checkmate the movement of bodies into the region adding that the south must not wait for a repeat of Northern experience with Book Haram sects.
He advised that more measures should be employed to safeguard the region from being prone to attack while he advised traditional rulers to document identities of people dwelling or doing businesses in their communities.
He urged federal government to consider decentralization of the Nigerian Police Force stating that it will help remedy the current wave of crimes and killings in the country.
“As part of the restructuring debate, we recommended that decentralization of the Nigerian Police should be listed for discussion. The fear that a decentralized police establishment would be used by the state governments for selfish reasons is not sustainable. No government structure is free of manipulation.
“In the interim, the Nigerian Police Force should be reinforced, re-equipped, drastically reoriented and attractively remunerated. Security service demands effective collaboration between the security personnel and community members.
“The evil that has engulfed SARS is systemic. The transformation of the police force promised by the Federal Government of Nigeria may end up as one of Nigeria’s palliative exercise. A Government that needs to be transformed cannot transform one of its critical units that is in character like several other units of the government. The fact that the federal government of Nigeria waited for a nationwide protest to respond to wailings of Nigerians on the atrocities of some SARS officers underscores that it’s understanding of the dangers threatening the country leaves much to be desired.
“A systemic problem cannot be effectively treated by dealing with a handful of culprits. The transformation needed in Nigeria is wholistic. And time is now!
“….most Nigerians are disgusted with the state of affairs in the country. A country that is not growing qualitatively is either ingloriously stagnating or preposterously retrogressing.
“The way out is good governance, supported by well informed, educated, productive and well-nourished citizens. Above all, both those who govern and those that are governed should be mindful of the need to make the best use of every opportunity to advance the well-being of others. That is a right step in serving God and humanity”.