February 24, 2015 – The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has cautioned members of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) against allowing their uniform to slip into the hands of criminals, warning that the development could engender public distrust in the force.
“You must see yourself not as police officer but as policemen for the most vulnerable member of the society. That is the most important thing that I think that you can do for this society. Whenever I see this uniform, the only message that it passes to me was that I am safe. So this uniform must not get into wrong hands”, the governor said adding that all over the world, whenever one sees a police officer, he or she has the belief that he is safe.
“And nothing can be more shocking for the citizens that such police officer was a fake police officer, because all his sense of safety will evaporate immediately”, he warned.
Fashola who was speaking at an occasion to hand over Information Communication Technology (ICT) centre to Area F Police command in Lagos warned the police against using their uniform to harass and intimidate Nigerians.
“So this uniform must not be tool for brutalizing the citizens. The citizens come first because that was the reason for putting on that cloth. Please continue to do your work because if no one values your work I do. And I hope that these facilities will help enhance your work”, the governor said.
Fashola explained that the least policemen can do is show understanding for the risk that they take on behalf of the society, adding that their job can be made lighter with the way they relate with members of the public.
Explaining the rationale for the ICT centres, Fashola said it was due to the way exhibits, especially vehicles and recovered stolen materials, were kept in police stations sometimes along the road adding that the development was unsightly.
“If the environment is not conducive, one should expect that such production centre will not produce quality. And during our investigation we realized that those vehicles kept on the highways result to commuters spending more time on such road than expected”, he noted.
He said the state government is equipping 100 police stations with ICT and appealed to Nigerians to take a second look at the NPF and see how they could make the police function to meet expectations of the society.
“I believe that this nation can build a 21st century police force that will have the best and the brightest can decide to pursue a career that will take him to the top. This will start from work environment, tools and the dignity with which the police carry themselves. I hope that this centre will achieve its purpose, improve your work environment and make your work easier as we go along.
“Provision of Technology do not cost too much. For instance how can we expect policemen to work without technology? How can they detect crime, even after detecting it, how will they be able to keep records. We are still carrying a police formation that I think has not left some of its colonial inheritance”, he said.