Why we allowed looters to have a free day — Police Officer opens up

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If you are one of many Nigerians wondering why warehouses have been ransacked for the past few days without any serious effort by security operatives to resist, this post certainly will clear things up for you.

A police officer whose identity is withheld for security reasons has told Daily Trust in an interview, why police officers across the country were indifferent toward looters despite instruction by the IGP to haunt down criminals and restore sanity.

He said the police have been heavily demoralized by lots of issues and would have themselves, embarked on protests if it were possible. He said the police are also human beings who also feel the effects of bad leadership, suffer like everyone else, and wouldn’t want to endanger themselves by confronting a people determined to grab whatever they can, not minding the risks.

Asked whether the police were directed to turn a blind eye, he said, “There was no directive to look aside, truth be told. In fact, there was an instruction from the IGP that policemen should go after the criminals and restore sanity. No one wants to sacrifice himself in a job where your family would be paid only one million nairas as benefits. The situation now calls for restraint, you don’t allow yourself to be killed unjustly when you know there will be little or no compensation for your wife and children.”

On the general feeling in the police force right now, he said, “The morale is very low. Police officers across the nation are so sad. Unfortunately, we cannot go on strike. We would have declared a strike by now to protest our deteriorating condition in the force.

“Let me tell you, we are in a job where people do not care about our welfare and that of the family of police officers. Aside, the fact that the salary is meager, policemen are seen as second or even third-class citizens. If a policeman does 10 good things and mistakenly does one bad thing, instead of warning him, the public will crucify him and the police authority will sacrifice the person.

“Among the several problems of police officers and men is poor remuneration. If you are paying a police constable N45,000, from this, he has to pay house rent, pay school fees, buy foodstuffs, pay electricity and other bills. He will also buy a uniform for N5000, to be sewn for N3,000, he will buy accouterments and a host of other things. All from his N45,000 monthly salary. Tell me, how will he not be corrupt?

Poor working conditions: as a policeman, you are expected to give your best but where are the working tools? You will buy stationeries, feed suspects, pay to visit accident scenes if you snap photographs, you pay to print, you will use your money to transport suspects to court at every court sitting. Tell me, how will the person not be corrupt?

“You face armed robbers without body armor, you confront rioters without a helmet or anti-riot shield and you suffer transfers without 28 days allowance in lieu of accommodation. IGP Solomon Arase was the last IGP who considered 28 days allowance very important. You sleep on the road, inside cars, at motor parks or anywhere you see, since there is no accommodation. Our barracks are more like managers for goats and pigs. It is so terrible. Nigerian police officers are suffering.”

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