Improving the welfare of policemen has been identified as the key to the solution of the rising wave of brutality and professional misconduct in the Nigerian Police. This is contained in two recent survey reports issued by the NOI Polls, a polling firm that is highly regarded for its credible country-specific surveys across West Africa.
The report also claimed that various pronouncements and actions by the police authorities have little impact on the attitude and conducts of its officers and men.
The finding of the reports, which were released recently, revealed a widespread public disenchantment with infringements of citizens’ rights by the police.
A high percentage of Nigerians who participated in the survey said that brutality and other forms of misconduct are common within the ranks and files of the country’s police.
The NOI Polls’ survey on Public Perception of Police Brutality stated that 77 per cent of Nigerians who participated in the poll said that police brutality is a prevalent issue in Nigeria.
Similarly, the survey on Police Misconduct showed that 78 per cent of those polled agreed that illegal activities are prevalent in conduct of Nigerian police’s personnel while 83 per cent identified bribe taking as rampant in the police force.
However, the poll also revealed that a significant percentage of the Nigerian public is sympathetic to the sub-optimal conditions in which policemen and women do their jobs.
The highest proportion of respondents in the Survey on Police Brutality identified “poor welfare package” as responsible for the wrong behavior of the police in this area.
Also 17 per cent of the respondents blamed “inadequate training” for the brutality of the olice while 11 per cent pinned it down on “greed” and “corruption” as the culprit.
On the survey on Police Misconduct, 83 per cent of respondents agreed that improving the welfare of police personnel would help to curb their illegal activities. However, 42 per cent voted for instituting a proper recruitment and training while 41 percent rooted for the implementation of police reforms as a panacea for illegal activities perpetrated by the police.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of NOI Polls, Dr Chike Nwangwu: “The concern of Nigerians regarding the high incidence of illegal activities by the police, which is supported by the findings of the poll, is not surprising. That is well documented. The consistent reports of alleged abuses by Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police personnel in social media are not new. But the high proportion of respondents in the two polls who say that improving the welfare of policemen should be a key part of the solution is very significant. It shows that Nigerian public opinion on this issue is quite deep.”