Oyo State chapter of the Socialist Party of Nigeria, SPN, has described the order by the Commissioner of Police, CP Joe Nwachukwu that all rank and file police officers in the state should resume office as an unfair and extremely unbalanced one .
The party, in a statement made available to OYOINSIGHT on Saturday morning, explained that the failure of the CP to include measures or provisions to improve the welfare and the working condition shows dubious means through which money are raised and generated to make provision for basic administration by police officers will remain.
The party noted that no police station can effectively run and operate without the adequate and sustainable provision of basic administrative requirements.
SPN also maintained that the kind of pathetic working condition under which police officer in the state groan could not be unconnected to why some of them involve in bribery and other forms of corrupt practices.
It then called on the government to introduce better pay and decent working conditions for police officers, and improved funding of police together with a democratic control of its operation and finances by the elected representatives of rank and file of police officers themselves and communities.
The statement by the party read in parts:
“The attention of the Socialist Party of Nigeria, SPN, Oyo State Chapter, has been drawn to a public statement credited to the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joe Nwachuku that the rank and file of police officers in the State should resume their duty posts immediately following the visit of the State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde to the Oyo State Headquarter of the Nigeria Police Force, Eleyele, Ibadan.
“SPN notes the need for the return of police officers to duty posts, but holds that such an order by the police boss should have been matched with measures or provisions to improve the welfare and the working condition of these police officers and also ensure that some of the police officers that are known for all forms of unruly behaviors, which often present the entire police force as bad before the general public, are brought to book.
“It must be recalled that a few days into the EndSARS protest many rank and file members of the Nigeria police in the State had been forced to withdraw from their various duty posts with no record of activities taking place in many police stations across the State. This was following attacks on the rank and file police officers and police stations, across the state. A number of police officers were reportedly killed; some were burnt alive while some were beaten and injured and six police stations were reportedly razed.
“SPN condemns the killings and several attacks unleashed on the police officers especially some of them who are merely innocent victims of circumstance. The burning of police stations in some towns in the State is equally condemnable. SPN, therefore, condoles with the families of all the police officers who were killed and demands for adequate compensation from the Nigeria police force to those officers’ families.
“However, SPN suspects that some of these unfortunate attacks couldn’t have been unconnected with the pent-up anger which had built up over time against the unruly, unethical and unprofessional conducts of some members of the rank and file officers of the Nigeria police including the repression of peaceful EndSARS protest. It is a known fact that men of the Nigeria police are notorious for the acts of extortions and harassment of the vast majority of the Nigerian working people including students, both employed and unemployed youths. Artisans and most especially the poor commercial vehicles and motorcycle operators are equally daily and regular victims of police brutality
“Notably among these barbaric conducts include: the act of charging complainants to make payment either before the suspect could be arrested or reported cases could be investigated. In fact despite, the general parlance that bail is free, virtually all the police stations in the state are known with the practice of charging suspects exorbitant fees sometimes as high as #50,000 before they could be free from detention. The usual excuses often put up to defend this practice which we believe is unlawful and illegal is that it serves as one of the other dubious means through which money are raised and generated to make provision for basic administrative materials like bail bond, statement forms, file, pens required for proper documentation of the profile of suspects and sureties, fueling of the police vans including disinfectants, detergents and other cleansing agent use for the cleaning of police cells and toilets in the police stations.
“SPN notes that no police station can effectively run and operate without the adequate and sustainable provision of all of these materials itemized above. However, it is our believe that it is neither the suspect nor the compliant meant to be responsible for the provision of any material required for the smooth running but that of the federal government. SPN equally believes other obligations of the federal government includes implementation of policies that will always bring about improvement in the welfare and favourable working conditions that will encourage the rank and file police officers to always provide decent and ethical policing across the States.
“Unfortunately, this is not the case, considering the terrible working and living condition of the mass of the poor rank and file police officers in the state. Asides from the pitiable salary earned by the rank and file police officers in the state is also the fact that every police officer in the state is responsible for the cost of buying their uniform including the shoe. In fact, it is our belief in SPN that the kind of the pathetic working condition under which mass of rank and file police officer in the state groan could not also be unconnected to why some of them involve in bribery and other forms of corrupt practices with an illusion in individual solution to their collective economic predicaments.
“It is in the consideration of this we of the SPN strongly feel that the order by the CP which failed to include measures or provisions to improve the welfare and the working condition of the police officers in the state while mandating them to resume duty post is unfair and extremely unbalanced. This is why we of the SPN demand better pay and decent working and living conditions for the rank and file police officers, and improved funding of police together with a democratic control of its operation and finances by the elected representatives of rank and file of police officers themselves and communities
“SPN believes that only this kind of democratic control can ensure that allocation to the police force is not looted or used to service the opulent lifestyle of the top rank police offices but rather translate into a significant improvement in both the living and working conditions of the rank and file police officers. This demand also applies to the military and other security agencies where the rank and file officers suffer poor pay and bad living and working conditions.
“Finally, SPN also believes that beyond this is the need for the rank and file members of the Nigeria police force and other security agencies to be accorded the rights to be able to organize under a Union of their choice toward ensuring that their Interests and rights are always advanced and adequately defended.”