I don’t know who came up with the Nigerian Police Slogan, “the police is your friend” but make no mistake about your relationship with the Nigerian Police. Nowhere in the world are the police your police. They have a very important role in keeping us all safe from the bad people of the world, but police is not your friend. Police is especially not your friend in an environment that does not hold the police accountable for the actions and expression of unreasonable force.
Whatever class of person you are in Nigeria, the last thing that you want is an encounter with the police because you will find out very quickly that all that the black letters in the Nigerian Constitution is statutes, and Police Public Relations campaigns mean nothing to the officers on the streets and in the police station near you.
The mantra that the police are our friends has long been thrown overboard as the officers themselves do everything possible to show that they are not our friends, despite having this notice posted on every police formation divisions, posts and commands while successive Inspector General of Police have tried all they can to launder the image of police and however, as much as the top hierarchy of the police is trying to paint the force to look like friends, the simple truth is that the police have refused to be anyone’s friend, at least those that interact with the general public on a regular basis. Instead of being friends, they have constituted themselves into the enemies of the public with their actions, antics, aloofness and their attitude of intimidating members of the public.
The police have so much power that they were not being made to face music of violation of human rights in this country, and under normal circumstances, if they abnormally brutalized or violated your constitutional rights, they supposed to be punished for that unjust offence against you. Now, even if you can prove that the police attempted to frame you for a crime that they knew you did not commit, and that you suffered terrible damages, ridicule and humiliation from that attempted frame-up, the police are absolutely immune to liability for attempting to frame you.
Tell any Nigerian “the Police is your friend” and you will be bombarded with sighs, hisses, anger, laughter and in some cases, threats as they reminisce and reflect upon their past experiences with their “friends”. Almost everyone has one bad experience or the other to recount. The force has now become a dumping ground for frustrated individuals whose lack of credentials have blessed them with a bleak future and thus, decide to enrol in the force with a view to making money from the citizens, and those that are desperately looking for jobs after graduating for many years but found none to do. Most of them are so frustrated with the low salaries they get that they vent their frustrations on the innocent citizens who pay for their troubles.