By Kayode Adegbehingbe
When Chief Olu Falae was abducted by suspected gun-toting Fulani men, he barely escaped with his life. What happened is part of an ongoing tug of war between the state and kidnappers in Nigeria.
Many have posited different reasons for this problem. Is it unemployment or sheer callousness on the part of the perpetrators?
When the suspected kidnappers were caught, they claimed that it was to get money to to celebrate Salah, that they decided to constitute themselves into a menace to the society. That is an evil that we should be rid off.
The world over, security has been a big deal, but concerted efforts are being made to ensure that the major terrorist associations in the world are limited in their capacity to cause havoc. We must give kidnappers a similar treatment here.
In one or two eastern states in Nigeria, the law backs up the government to demolish the houses of those who have chosen to make their money through kidnapping. Such ruthlessness must be employed against those who have taken brigandry to another height in Acts of kidnapping.
The society deserves peace for people to carry out their lawful duties without harassment and fear. With security guaranteed, people are free to engage in economic activities that will be of longterm benefit to themselves and their society.
Money budgeted for security issues must be allocated and used as such, otherwise people in government will have the blood of the people in their hands as security issues goes out of hand in the communities. When kidnapping kingpins rule, we have a failed state on our hands.
Though eventually the suspected kidnappers of Chief Falae have been caught, the same cannot be said of many other incidents like it. Does this mean that the Police can be fingered as being part of the problem, or is it that it was because the President personally directed that the Inspector General of Police Sunday Arase be involved that we have such a result in the Falae case?
It may be that when the police really wants to solve a case, they get things done without much ado. Or maybe it is an issue inadequate manpower training and availability of equipment.
Another issue that has been thrown up in the case is the need for a decentralized police system. If something is not working, maybe it is time to try another thing, and in this case that other thing is State or/and community policing.
When police in a place come from that place, they have their family name to protect so they may not be easily found on the road side collected bribes from commuters. They will want praise from their people, being part of our primordial instinct, so they will buckle up.
In a such an arrangement, the Policemen and women are not floaters, but can be traced to the family houses, they have a sense of belonging and loyalty to the place and people which will eventually translate to how effectively they do their job.
When they do their policing, it is not just about doing a job, but they are protecting their children, father, mother, wives, husbands. That will give a new meaning to policing and can engender better engagement.
When you lead a police team, you are less willing to participate in corruption than if you are among your people. You will “remember the son of whom you are,” as they say. But otherwise you can be involved in shady things and think it will have no lasting impact on your overall reputation, since you can be moved to another place at anytime.
It is clear that we are touchy when it comes to how those who are our families view us, we tend to be careful among them, we want them to respect us, to have regard for us, and when that becomes a factor in the work of Police through state and community policing, maybe we will have a new kind of Police into the country.