The month of October, 2020 is one month that will not be easily erased from the minds of Nigerians as well as that of the Nigerian Police force (NPF). It was the month that the NPF was brought to her knees. A month where all forms of bullies and intimidation came to an end from the NPF. In Lagos alone, it is no longer news that about 27 stations in various parts of the state were set ablaze with lots of police men being killed and maimed. The other parts of the country however had a dose and its own fair share of the mayhem against the NPF.
It had started as a protest against the police unit known as SARS that was involved in extra-judicial arrests, torture, maiming and killing of innocent youths in the name of fighting cyber crime. With the shooting of some protesters by Police men attached the police station Orile, a den of touts, miscreants etc all hell was let loose. It led to the station being set ablaze. To further add salt to the injury inflicted by the police, the Lekki Toll Gate shooting happened. The fight was taken to the NPF for all the wrongs done to citizens of the nation in the past and present from extortion, bribery to illegal arrests. The police had to run for their lives hide inside their barracks when they saw videos of how their colleagues were maimed and killed.
The attack was a big blow to the NPF that it destroyed the morale of her officers to return to their duty posts and work again. Some threatened to resign. In the short absence of the police men on the roads, there were some relief for road users as no unnecessary check points and extortion. Even when the police came back to their duty posts, they didn’t bother anybody.
Old habits are difficult to erase. The police are back to their old ways of extortion from commercial drivers. This time they work hand-in-hand with officials of the commercial operators associations to extort money from the motorists. In some parts of Lagos state, they have touts on their payroll helping them to collect money from these drivers. According to a Keke (Tricycle) driver, he said the moment you refuse to pay the policemen will hold and delay you so that you will not work.
It is not business as usual with the policemen back on the road extorting money. The call for the eradication of SARS has been futile as some police men are still seen in unmarked cars looking scruffy and hunting for innocent youths quietly trying to avoid attention being drawn to them. The NPF can never change their habits. It is in their DNA.