By Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC), Musiliu Smith, has sounded the alarm that if care is not taken, Nigeria could face a shortage of police officers in the near future, which could complicate the campaign against crime and crime.
He made the observation yesterday at a one-day Southwest Zone police recruitment awareness forum at the Kola Daisi Civic Center, Idi-Ape, Ibadan, Oyo State.
Smith, retired Inspector General of Police (IGP), noted that Nigerian police force strength has for many years been well below the United Nations recommended police-to-population ratio. He added that his concern stems from the inability of many states to meet their allotted police recruitment quotas.
He explained that the awareness forum was organized by the PSC to gather relevant information and find a lasting solution to why young people in many states are indifferent to policing, even though the country is lagging behind in the ideal number of personnel who should do so Police over 200 million Nigerians.
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He explained that the states in the Southwest Geopolitical Zone had not met their allotted quotas in previous recruitment exercises. He found that many of those who applied were dropped on medical grounds, suffering from high blood pressure, tuberculosis and other conditions.
Smith specifically accused some traditional rulers of charging applicants for police jobs money to sign their forms or provide them with letters of recommendation, saying such unhealthy practices must stop for a better future for the nation. He also noted that some traditional rulers and local government officials also had a habit of giving letters of recommendation and certificates of citizenship to non-Indigenous people of their states in exchange for financial gains in order to meet the quotas assigned to their states.
Explaining that Nigerian police should have the power and staff shouldn’t just work with their blood, hands and brains, he said: “Modern policing is very dependent on modern security equipment. I’m sure you’ll agree that we’re nowhere near deploying necessary security equipment that can modernize the country and help police the country effectively. I’m not saying the government isn’t trying. But I think the government should try more so that they (the government) should provide practically everything that the police need to support themselves as we improve the strength of the police.”