Inspector General of Police Usman Baba-Alkali has tasked Nigerians to change their negative perception of the police for enhanced service delivery.
“There must be a constructive change of public perception towards the police and policing in order for the transformation of policing to be balanced in the country,” Mr Baba-Alkali said.
The IGP, represented by Commissioner of Police Ade Hamzat, spoke at a one-day high-level policing executive forum entitled: “A New Vision for Policing in Nigeria” on Wednesday.
The forum was organised by the Police Reform and Transformation Office (PORTO), with the support of other partners, including the Cleen Foundation and MacArthur Foundation.
Mr Baba-Alkali urged human rights activists to address the constant breach of police rights by members of the public to ensure a balanced policing transformation in the country.
He said that for a more balanced police transformation, there was a need for human rights activists to also stand up for the police, whose rights were constantly being abused by the public.
“Just as I have said, the police, too, have their rights abused,” he said. “When we actually did a policing in some other clients outside Nigeria, and we saw the cooperation the police get from the public, and we compared our performance outside Nigeria, we discovered that the difference is clear with the policing in Nigeria.”
The IGP called for collaboration with members of the public to ensure better security and policing in Nigeria.
Mr Baba-Alkali also said the police would continue to improve their service delivery while calling for the protection of officers’ rights.
Tunji Lardner, the executive director of PORTO and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Policy, said the police were intricately intertwined with politics which ought not to be.
Mr Lardner said for improved policing, the police must stand alone central to law and order and must transcend regardless of what political party or government was in place.
He called for more engagement to address the policing systems to fit into a digitalised vision.
Charles Omole, the Special Adviser to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on National Security and Intelligence Matters, said the police had largely been underfunded to carry out its duties effectively.
He lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for giving the police better attention and funding, which ought to reflect in the attitudinal conduct of the police.