By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
As Nigerian Muslims join their brethren in faith across the world to celebrate the Id Al-Fitr today, Thursday, 13th May, 2021, an Islamic group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on the Federal Government to recruit more policemen, soldiers and other security agents as a means of bringing the spate of insecurity to a halt. The group also canvassed for the procurement of state of the art equipment for all the security agencies.
The advice was contained in a Salah message sent to the media on Thursday, 13th May, 2021 by the director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
“The present state of insecurity requires drastic solution. One area of our weakness is inadequate number of security men. Whereas the United Nations recommends at least one policeman for every 450, 499 or 500 citizens, the numerical strength of the Nigerian Police falls below this world standard.
“We had just 317,000 policemen as at 2009. We had less than 100,000 soldiers and about 33,000 men of the Department of Secret Services (DSS). Unfortunately no new recruitments were made from that period until 2016 when 10,000 policemen were added to police population. This has been an annual exercise and the number may have jumped to around 377,000 as at 2021. Another 70,000 would have been added if previous administrations had employed 10,000 more policemen per annum since 2009. But they did not.
“With the projected 377,000 policemen in the country as at today securing a population of 210 million people, Nigeria can only boast of one policeman to every 557 citizens. But that is in theory. In reality, the ratio is poorer than that because more than half of our police population are on special duties trying to secure very important personalities (VIPs). In some cases, more than six policemen are assigned to protect a single official. The theory of ratio 1:557 crashes in the face of this reality.
“Even at 1:557, Nigeria’s situation still falls below global best practices. With a population of 58.56 million people, South Africa’s police-civilian ratio is 1:439. The US 2019 population of 328.2 million has a 1:420 ratio. Britain’s population which is 66.65 million (2019) has 124,784 policemen, i.e. 211 policemen per every 100,000 citizens.
“What makes Nigeria’s case worse is the fact that a large number of the available officers and men are posted to guard politicians, judges, company directors, bank executives, etc. Although this is not the time to advocate full withdrawal of such protection from their current posts, this must be done as soon as the security situation improves.
“If it is true that cities are conquered by numbers, we recommend the recruitment of at least 25,000 additional policemen and 20,000 soldiers this year 2021 alone with an annual recruitment of no less than 20,000 per annum over the next five years in order to overwhelm all criminal and separatist elements. We also advocate faster pace of training and the procurement of state of the art equipment, particularly communication gadgets.”