Many Nigerians are appalled at the high prevalence of police misconduct and they listed collection of bribes, arrest of innocent Nigerians and intimidation of innocent Nigerians as the top three misconducts amongst others.The result of the public opinion poll conducted by NOIPolls in the week commencing May, 6th, 2019 and released on Thursday in Abuja, revealed that the high prevalence of illegal police activities as indicated by majority (78 percent) of Nigerians interviewed.
It noted that the perception may have been influenced by daily interface between the police and the general public across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
According to the report, 57 percent of the respondents disclosed that they are aware of some police illegal activities in their locality and residents from the South-South zone (68 percent) accounted for the larger proportion of Nigerians in this category.
“Interestingly, 83 percent of those who are aware of some police illegal activities mentioned that collection of bribes is one of the most common illegal activity of the Nigeria police personnel.
“Other police illegal activities cited in the poll include arresting innocent Nigerians (42 percent), intimidating innocent Nigerians (41 percent) and killing of unarmed Nigerians (12 percent) amongst other mentions. This finding is in line with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report which revealed that among public officials, police officers are the ones to whom bribes are most commonly paid in Nigeria,” the report said.
According to the report, some of the opinions on how to curb some of these illegal activities by some Nigeria police personnel were suggested and 31 percent recommended that the government should improve police welfare while, 19 percent advocated for proper recruitment and training processes in the Nigeria Police Force.
About 18 percent advised that the Nigeria Police Force should be reformed and this is in line with Police Reform Bill passed by the Nigerian Senate in April 2019, which is currently awaiting presidential assent.
In conclusion, the report suggested that the Nigeria Police Force should aggressively tackle these issues as it will go a long way in restoring the trust and confidence of Nigerians in the Nigeria Police Force.
It noted that the government should in collaboration with other stakeholders workout modalities to improve the welfare of police personnel and ensure that proper recruitment and training processes in the Nigerian police in line with world standards, while the Police Service Commission should also ensure that internal discipline in the system is not at all compromised and actively enforced.