So it does seem that the Nigeria police has a bad reputation – corrupt, bribe collectors, harassers, the unfriend lot and all.
But they have had their good times.
At the peak of the war in Liberia, Nigeria police officers were deployed for a peacekeeping mission. They shone and were celebrated for their outstanding performance while in the country.
So on August 22, 2009, the United Nations (UN) awarded the police officers medals for what was described as “meritorious” service in restoring peace in Liberia.
Ellen Loj, the then head of the UN mission in Liberia, especially commended the police for their performance in anti-crime patrols, cordon and search, rescue operations and crowd control.
This was not the first time they were commended for performing credibly.
In 2008, the Nigeria police were also commended and awarded medals for their peacekeeping mission in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
In 2012, 34 police officers on a peacekeeping mission in South Sudan received the UN award for “exceptional performance”.
Hilda Johnson, the special representative of the UN’s secretary-general, decorated the officers with the award medals and described the police officers as resourceful and competent especially in peace restoration efforts in South Sudan.
The Nigeria police established its peacekeeping office in 2005 with a vision to “research, train and deploy for global peace support operations”.
On its website, the police says its officers have participated in operations “in Congo, Namibia, Angola, Western Sahara, Cambodia, Mozambique, Somalia, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, East Timor, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Afghanistan, Cote D’Ivoire, Burundi, Haiti, Sudan, South Sudan and Guinea Bissau to mention but a few”.
The Nigeria police, on its website, says its vision is “to make Nigeria safer and more secure for economic development and growth; to create a safe and secure environment for everyone living in Nigeria”.
However, there have been various allegations of human rights abuses, with citizens reporting cases of police officers aiding and abetting crimes.
Policemen have become so notorious for corrupt activities that Solomon Arase, former IGP of police, dismissed over 51 police officers for proven corrupt cases and demoted 56 others in the first 10 months of his tenure.
But its successes in peacekeeping missions away from Nigeria cannot yet be disputed.