By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
In a special message to mark the Eid-el-Kabir occasion, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has felicitated with the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Nigerian Muslims and the Nigerian people in general.
The Islamic human rights organisation called on FG to empower the Nigerian Police in order to ensure an enduring security of lives and properties.
The group reminded FG that the security of lives and properties is the basic function of government as enshrined in Article 14 Section 2(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which states inter alia, “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.
This was contained in the Salah message issued by the group on Monday, 20th August 2018. The message was signed by the leader of the group, Professor Ishaq Akintola. MURIC lamented the spate of killings which took place around the country in the past few months. It commended FG, the police in particular and other security agencies for rising to the challenge and for bringing the killings to a halt. It however stressed that there is still much to be done in the area of empowering the police and improving their welfare.
MURIC said, “The Nigerian Police remains the best in West Africa. Yet there is no conducive working environment. The welfare situation is near zero. Police staff houses collapse at will. Many police stations have no generating sets. They rely on lanterns and candles to work at night. Policemen tax themselves to buy fuel for their patrol vehicles. “Some police stations have no single patrol vehicle. An example is Iba Police Station in Ojo Local Government, Lagos State. It is more than pathetic. How can policemen in such a station patrol the streets? How can they effect stop and search operations? How can they chase criminals on our roads? How can they tackle armed hoodlums? How can we expect such a national security outfit to be efficient?
“As far back as the late 70s, every policeman in Cairo had a pistol attached to his belt and a walkie-talkie. But in our Nigeria of the 21st century, rifles cannot go round among the police. This is a national disaster and a big shame on a country that prides itself as the giant of Africa. Who did this to Nigeria?
“This poor working condition subjects men of the Nigerian Police to severe stress. Yet they are sometimes made to work round the clock thereby adding to their stress.
The Inspector General of Police was once reported to have issued an order compelling divisional police officers (DPOs) to sleep in their offices in other to ensure their presence at all times. But how comfortable or convenient are the DPO’s offices?
“What happens to the wives, husbands and children of DPOs who practically live in the police stations? It has great impact on the family system. These are some of the causes of accidental discharge and extra-judicial killings. They are products of stress, built-up anger and frustration. We give the police too little but we expect too much from them. Policemen are not adequately compensated for the hazards of the profession.
“MURIC suggests a stress and anger management mechanism. The ministry of police affairs must, as a matter of urgency, establish psychotherapy clinics in every state command where psychiatry and psychology experts can attend to policemen from time to time. This will reduce incidents of accidental discharges and anger killings.
“Citizens are advised to cooperate with the police and to provide credible information. We urge people to remain calm and to exhibit warmness whenever they are accosted by policemen. They are advised not to say or do anything capable of annoying the police on such occasion in view of the stressfull condition under which the police work. We advise motorists to always dim their headlights and switch on the inner lights of their cars when stopped at night by the police.
“We call on FG to consider the supply of sophisticated weapons and communication gadgets a matter of paramount importance. Every policeman must have a pistol and a walkie-talkie. The police deserve a special salary scale. There must be a robust welfare package for them and they must not be overworked. Only then can Nigerians sleep with both eyes closed.
“On a last note, we reiterate our appeal to President Buhari to grant presidential pardon to the 54 soldiers serving a 10 year jail sentence for refusing to fight Boko Haram with bare hands. We charge Imams to pray for Nigeria during the Id prayers. Pray for peace, security, progress and full economic recovery. Pray for the exposure of masterminds of killings in Nigeria. Pray for good health and protection for President Muhammadu Buhari. Above all, pray that evil, selfish and corrupt leaders may not rule this country again”.
Muslims across the globe will be marking the annual Id al-Kabiir tomorrow, Tuesday, 21st August, 2018. Consequently, the Federal Government (FG) has declared a two day holiday beginning from tomorrow to mark the festival.