The Nigerian policeman: Shortcut to prosperity
Every country needs the rule of law and predictable security conditions; otherwise, families cannot pursue healthy lives, businesses cannot thrive, and investors turn away. Thus; aside from freedom, democracy, and a culture geared for success; an effective justice system constitutes a foundational asset.
Together with judges, lawyers, and jailers, could Nigerian policemen serve a keystone role in the development of Africa’s largest country (by population)?
Rule of Law
No government that cannot protect its constituents has a claim to legitimacy. Any organism pretending to political power, but unable to command the streets and the frontiers, has the character of a meaningless transitional regime: a placeholder waiting to be swept away by a new order.
Any populist leader going on a crusade / jihad against police could have the cynical scheme of trying to subvert order and peace, in view of emerging from the subsequent chaos to seize power in a primitive and undemocratic new dispensation.
Like every profession, police can always benefit from reforms, improved methods, more competitive pay and benefits, better training, and enhanced equipment.
Perhaps state police commands should be under the control of their respective governor — or split into various units under both local authorities and the state executive — instead of serving the orders of the distant federal capital in Abuja. After all, ideally, police come from among local people to serve more effectively.
However, beyond the universal quest for improvement and various ideas for reforms, the strategic role played by police remains unambiguous. Undaunted, supported, curious, ethical, and determined police can drastically improve living conditions and societal outcomes.
Nigerian Security Challenges
Even as Nigeria and the world face up to a demographic future marked by 400 million if not 800 million Nigerians, (if UN projections for the coming decades hold true), security challenges are piling up.
Most projections have Nigeria blowing past 400 million people by 2050, or at least by 2060. Then Africa’s largest population either slows down, or continues at the same pace and hurtles over the bar of one billion by 2085 or 2090.
But without security, how can this planet-sized mass of humanity avoid poverty and the dashing of optimistic development targets?
Today, Nigeria confronts a years-long scourge: an Islamist rapist insurgency near its border with Cameroon and Chad, in the historical area of Lake Chad. Despite years of fighting, somehow the Nigerian Army and the national government have been unable to put an end to these terrorists.
Educational reform and cultural reform, in view of ending underlying societal sympathy for extremist beliefs, remain taboo.
Tens of millions of Nigerians are either languishing in dysfunctional pseudo-educational arrangements, or are the under-performing products of these conditions.
In the North, a shocking percentage of children attend “Islamic schools” where children are made to beg on the streets for hours a day, in exchange for rote memorization of verses they don’t understand. In some cases, children are chained and treated as slaves, both economically and sexually.
Kidnappings, carjackings, and maritime piracy remain major concerns. The government imposes high regulations and taxes, but often fails to deliver services, with a culture of kleptocracy and ethno-political violence prevailing.