In view of the reform in the Nigeria Police Force being envisaged under the new Inspector General Mohammed Adamu, it has become imperative to address the neglect meted to universityand polytechnic graduates in the Force’s rank and file and inspectors by previous administrations in order for justice and sense of belonging to prevail.
It is trite to say that the major duty of Police personnel is to protect lives and property which is done through detecting, investigating and apprehending of offenders, as well as guard duties, patrols, check point and prompt response to crime alerts, etc. It is also paramount to stress that these graduates in the rank and file and inspectors are deployed for all the above listed assignments and more, although senior Police officers would be assigned to accompany them. However, it should be stressed that statistics has shown that the rank and file and inspectors have suffered major casualties than the senior officers during Police operations.
Despite the busy schedules assigned to the rank and file and inspectors, however, a considerable number among them have squeezed time for self-improvement in educating themselves even to the PhD level.
Interestingly, the Police Force has yet to put in place a system that would periodically absorb these experienced men and women among the rank and file and inspectors into the elite cadre of the Force. This particular situation has resulted in several university graduates retiring as inspectors of Police after 35 years of service; which is a step less than the entry point for a university degree holder. Only a few lucky ones retire as assistant superintendent of Police.
The Police Academy is a brilliant idea by the Police Force as it would serve the purpose of a university, which would enable the academy graduates to be absorbed into the Force’s officers’ cadre. But fairness demands that this should not be used to bar the main university and polytechnic-educated ones from also joining the elite cadre, especially as they deserve their status through the required educational qualification.
The last Cadet ASP exercise that was done by the Nigeria Police Force in 2014, which ended in 2015, was in three stages – state, zonal and national – and more than 10,000 university graduates participated. A previous exercise had been held in 2011. After the rigorous screening at the 2014 exercise, the Nigeria Police Commission chose 50 persons per state across the country. Thereafter, the Police Headquarters in Abuja demanded for files of the chosen persons which were promptly submitted in December 2015. To this day, however, nothing has been said by the authorities on the published list of the chosen candidates through a Police signal usually deployed to pass information in the Force.
From the foregoing, therefore, it is imperative to call on the incumbent IGP to look into this matter with a view to exacting justice in correcting the wrong of the past. No one doubts the ability and resolve of the IGP to achieve this onerous task with the dispatch it deserves. He has been a proven academically excellent officer who rose to the top of Police hierarchy in Nigeria through excellence in all his endeavours that have spanned over three decades. In a short time since the IGP assumed office, his inclination for positive reforms have been felt across the Force. So, it is expected of him to work in concert with the Police Service Commission to consider the concerns of the university and polytechnic graduates among the Police rank and file and inspectors so that they can enjoy a desired sense of belonging that would ultimately aid their resolve to give their all to the Nigeria Police Force for the overall benefit of the country. Specifically, the pending files at the Police Headquarters in Abuja since December 2015 should be treated with dispatch so that the would-be beneficiaries could be allowed to proceed on the cadet ASP training that would guarantee their elevation so that the ones coming behind them can also get their due turn.