DailyTimes had a word with the ex inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro about SARS. HBelow is the excerpt:
DT: What is your position on the recruitment of more policemen to tackle the various security challenges in the country?
Okiro: Yes, the Nigeria police force lacks funding. But in modern times, you don’t talk of manpower so much, but equipment. Whether it is farming, industry or building, a machine can do what ten people can do in a day. It’s the same thing in policing, if you have equipment. Unfortunately, the Nigerian police doesn’t have such an opportunity. They use manpower and it is inadequate.
For five years there’s been no recruitment, and the police lost almost 40,000 people due to retirement, death and so on, before we got the marching order to recruit 10,000 every year, which we did last year. Between last year to date, we have lost about 9,000 people. So if you look at it, we lost about 40,000, recruited 10 and lost another 9,000. So now the manpower is not there, nor the equipment.
DT: If you were to choose one single thing that you would change completely to ensure a more robust and reformed Police Force, what would it be?
Okiro: A lot of things are lacking. However, corruption is a pain in the side of the police force. One question people never ask, is can you have an honest, corruption-free police force in a corrupt society? The point I am making is that, the issue of corruption is one we should fight because it is a crime and the police are recruited to fight crime. Therefore, they cannot be found to be committing crime when they are supposed to fight it. I’d love to change that unfortunate dynamic. The kind of society we have influences the kind of police we have. But things have to change.
DT: What do you miss the most about your days of active service as a police officer?
Okiro: Oh, the telephone calls. When I was in service, my phone rang for twenty-four hours. And I always answered. But now, when I want to sleep, I can even switch off.
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