As the issue of end SARS and others regarding the need to reform the Nigeria Police dominate the issues of public discourse, a Nigerian who could situate the issues since the past 33 years sent us this short article on one of lost opportunities and failed reform bids
In 1987, smarting from the NYSC, I itched to join the police force. I had a female friend in the Protocols Section of the NPA where I had earlier worked, who is the daughter of IGP Aliyu Attah. I sought her assistance. She did her bit and asked me to ensure that my forms come in through Enugu.
Unfortunately my form made it late that year. IG Attah retired later same year. Attah had initiated a Graduate Enlistment Programme (GEP) in the police whereby university graduates would be enlisted as constables but on graduate scales, perquisites and privileges. Excellently housed.
He had reasoned that graduate constables would make a very great difference on the job by way of their education and exposure. That the new police would earn respect, have very polished attitude to the job, admired and respected. Their uniform would return to the starched splendid khaki with leather brown service shoes to match. (As Major-General Joe Garba and TY Danjuma used to splendidly turn out those days). Each armed with a pistol, walkie-talkie, a Rover patrol car for groups of four. In short, a new elite police. The first batch had gone in to train at Wudil, Kano.
I would have joined the second batch.
But after Attah, Gambo Jimeta became the next IG and the GEP was stopped. Why? I furiously sought to know why. I had primed myself not to miss the next third batch.
At Moloney Police headquarters, Lagos, I was whispered to in confidence that Alhaji Gambo Jimeta felt that the programme would benefit the South immensely as the North had not much university graduates to take up the resultant huge openings the programme would be offering. Not only that, constables who acquired degrees or diplomas while in service shall no longer be automatically promoted until Adamu who came in with Primary 7 is promoted. That is to say if Adamu, your batch set is a Sergeant you remain at that rank too with your Ph.D until Adamu advances to Sergeant-Major before you advance to the same rank if not quickly retired. Continued self-education was so killed in a flash.
That was how the police stagnated and relapsed into a cesspool of societal dregs and misfits that ride high today as FSARS.