By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC), Musiliu Smith, has raised the alarm that if care is not taken, Nigeria may face shortage of policemen in the nearest future, which may make the campaign against crime and criminality more difficult.
He made the observation at a one-day South West Zone Police Recruitment Sensitisation Forum at the Kola Daisi Civic Centre, Idi-Ape, Ibadan, Oyo State, on Wednesday.
Smith, a retired Inspector-General of Police (IGP), noted that the strength of the Nigeria Police is far below the United Nations recommended police-population ratio. He added that his fear stemmed from the inability of many states to meet up with police recruitment quota allocated to them.
Smith explained that the sensitisation forum was organised by the PSC towards gathering relevant information and finding lasting solution on why youths in many states have apathy for police job, in spite of the fact that the country is lagging behind in the ideal number of personnel that should police over 200 million Nigerians.
He stated that in the previous recruitment exercises carried out, states in the South West geopolitical zone did not meet up with the quota allocated to them.
The PSC Chairman noted that many of those that applied were dropped on medical grounds because they have high blood pressure, tuberculosis and other medical conditions.
Smith, particularly accused some traditional rulers of demanding money from applicants for police jobs for them to sign their forms or to give them letters of introduction, saying such unwholesome practices must stop for a better future for the nation.
He also noted that some traditional rulers and local government officials were also in the habit of giving letters of introduction and citizenship certificates to non-indigenes of their states on pecuniary gains, with a view to filling the quota allocated to their states.
He stated that the Nigeria Police ought to have the strength, adding that personnel are not supposed to work with only their blood, hands and brain.
“Modern policing is very much dependent on modern security equipment. I am sure you will agree with me that we are not yet near providing necessary security gadgets that can modernise and help policing our country effectively. I am not saying the government is not trying, but I think the government should do more so that as we are improving the strength of the police, virtually everything the police need to use to support themselves, they (the government) should provide,” he said.