•Need For A Review Of The Operational Framework of EFCC and the policing system
A report carried by national newspaper on Wednesday depicted the tragic-comic episode in the ancient town of Ile-Ife very succinctly.
“Over 70 students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, were reportedly arrested by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in a midnight raid on hostels outside the campus.”
Mercifully, after the great outcry expected in a democracy, the affected students have been released. The episode reminiscent of a Hollywood script portrays a misinformed ‘strategy’ gone awry. Unfortunately, this is not Hollywood, this is reality. Scores of impressionable young people have been emotionally traumatised. Their right violated and may need professional counseling to recover. This is without prejudice to their constitutionally guaranteed right to take out a court action and demand for punitive damages.
A sting operation should be based on scenario planning and ought to be the outcome of rigorous preparation and forensic investigation as well as strategic imperative. This tragic-comic interlude was clearly not based on any discernable strategy. Having gone from ‘tragedy into farce’, there must be a post-mortem and a review of strategy and statics. There must be an end to amateurs.
A review must begin with a deepening of an intelligent gathering needed to avoid future debacle. By it very nature, intelligence gathering is structured and pro-active. It also takes diligence and need time and not impulsive actions. Under officers of another era, such as the celebrated Inspector Fynecountry, the Nigeria police force had an enviable reputation for detective work.
We must now go back to the training manuals and the methods of recruiting of that more productive era.
Recruiting and selection into the policing system is now clearly defective and must be redefined. The curriculum of the police colleges must undertake a holistic review and be brought up to date.
The use of information technology and even the contentious insertion of artificial intelligence must now be placed at the epicenter of the work of a retooled and modernised policing system.
Fundamentally, there is a lot in a name just as we now have ‘Correctional Centres’ instead of prisons. We must replace ‘Force’ with Nigeria Police Service. This will indicate a transformation from a colonial era constabulary into a modernised police structure compatible with a democracy.
Modern methods of organisation must be brought into play. A policing system is a large and complex mechanism requiring seasoned managerial acumen and capacity.
Dr. Nelson Mandela was acutely conscious of this imperative when he undertook sweeping reforms of the South African police system in transiting into the post-apartheid democracy. Dr. Mandela audaciously brought in N.M. Meyer, a brilliant manager of men and resources and CEO of South African Breweries to head and reform the post apartheid defence force.