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What Buhari must do about police reform

Published by The Nation on Wed, 14 Oct 2020

By Robert Egbe The Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum on Tuesdayhailed President Muhammadu Buhari for sanctioning the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and promising police reforms.It described the Federal Governments response to the #EndSARS protests as prompt, but suggested ways the government can rebuild the police and win public trust.One of those ways, it said, is to decentralise policing, with simple offences handled locally, while crimes such as kidnapping, currency forgery, and insurrection should be handled at the federal level.In two statements signed by the Yoruba Ronu President, Akin Malaolu, the group said the countrywide clamour against SARS had its sympathetic understanding, adding that it also appreciated the background to the need for SARS to combat armed robbery.Read Also: Buhari promises extensive Police reformWe salute the Police authority for taking steps to engage the public and douse tension. We condemn the recklessness and insensitivity of the police authorities in some states, which were at variance with the message from Abuja, the statement said.The socio-cultural group said although the current efforts are commendable, the President must do several things.These include setting up a committee of eminent citizens, including past Inspectors-General of Police (IGPs), retired Deputy Inspectors-General of Police (DIGs), lawyers and civil society representatives to probe cases of police-civilian clashes.They must also re-strategise the departments of police, it said.It urged the President to direct the Police Service Commission to audit police personnel with a view to delisting those with terrible records and retraining all cadres of personnel.We must come to terms with the reality that a centralised police command for a federation is an anathema. It cannot be effective or efficient and is in need of an urgent replacement for something more compact, contemporary and confidence-building.The body said much of policing should be local, while big crimes such as kidnapping, currency forgery and insurrection should attract federal attention.It also made a case for re-screening of police officers nationwide among others.
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