Chief Raymond Nkemdirim, a former Director of Operations, Department of State Services (DSS), has said that Nigeria is grossly under-policed, given the United Nation’s benchmark.
Nkemdirim said this while speaking on the spate of insecurity in Nigeria during an interactive session with newsmen in Umuahia on Tuesday.
He described the nation’s police personnel of some 371,000 to 200 million Nigerians as “a far cry” from the UN standard benchmark of one policeman to 400 people.
“If we are to go by the UN benchmark, it means we need at least half a million police operatives to effectively police the country.
“I was discussing with a former Inspector-General of Police and he said that of the 371,000 police, no fewer than 250,000 were attached to private individuals and Very Important Persons (VIPs) to guard them.
“If these statistics are correct, this leaves us with barely 121,000 operatives to do the real police work.
Under such a circumstance, what do you expect? It becomes difficult for the police to effectively police a country of 200 million people,” Nkemdirim said.
He further regretted that beyond the low size of the police personnel vis-a-vis the country’s population, the available police were grossly ill-equipped to efficiently combat crimes.
According to him, the Nigerian police lack modern equipment to fight crime, which has become more sophisticated.
Nkemdirim also expressed worry that the police lacked training in modern day policing, saying that they should be adequately equipped and given the necessary training to excel.
He canvassed for the installation of Close Circuit Cameras in major cities of the country to aid the police in crime fighting as obtained in developed nations.
He advocated a reform that would engender improved remuneration, welfare package, work environment, living condition and better equipment for the police.
“Our police win laurels when they go for foreign assignments because they get exposed to better equipment in those countries.
“Modern day police operations require sophisticated equipment. So, if we have all these things in place for the police, they will do better,” he said.
Nkemdirim further advocated a paradigm shift from reactionary to proactive and intelligence-led policing.
“The police need to move way from waiting to react after a crime had been committed and embrace intelligence-led policing to be able to nip crimes in the bud,” he said.
He said that the nefarious activities of armed herders, kidnappers and bandits could be effectively monitored and arrested before they happened through intelligence-led policing.
Nkemdirim also spoke on the gains of community policing, saying the initiative would bolster the performance of the police through effective community support and collaboration.
He further made a case for the establishment of State Police, describing it as “a very effective means of combating crime.
“Nigeria is long ripe for state police,” he said, adding that statutory checks should be put in place to take care of the fear of its possible abuse by governors.
Meanwhile, Nkemdirim, who is the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Flo FM 94.9 Umuahia, has advised the Federal Government to yield to the demands of the protesters against police brutality, #EndSARS.
He warned against the use of force to quel the nationwide protests, saying that deploying force would be counterproductive.
He kicked against the planned deployment of the “Crocodile Smile” by the Military to the streets, saying that it would compound the tensed security situation in the country.
“Federal Government should not treat the agitation by the protesters with kid gloves. It should engage the protesters meaningfully and address their demands,” Nkemdirim said.
He warned that the Arab Springs, which had unsavoury political consequences in the Arab countries, started in a similar way, hence the need for government to be more circumspect in dealing with the protest.