Politics: An officer and gentleman Daily Parrot

It is a general belief at home and abroad that locating an honest Nigerian is like looking for a needle in a haystack. This is even more difficult, by general perception,  in the Nigeria Police Force. But an exception was found in Daniel Armah, a Chief Superintendent of Police, who heads the Divisional Police Division in Bompai, Nasarawa Local Government Area of Kano State. Armah shunned an opportunity to benefit from the rotten system as he rejected a $200,000 bribe.

He is, indeed, the proverbial white pap that was produced in a very black pot. The Nigeria Police Force is infamous for being the most corrupt institution in the country. It should be recalled that some officers have been convicted for participating in armed robbery or renting out guns to criminals, or deliberately muddling up investigation to frustrate justice. Others have been implicated in stealing from accident scenes. The probe panels instituted into the 2020 #ENDSARS riots that rocked the country did not do the institution’s image any good as witnesses came up with proofs of not just brutality, but other sordid acts. In other cases, exhibits are tampered with to enrich senior officers. Properties of suspects seized illegally were ordered released by the panels. It is a notorious fact that, while it is boldly written in all police stations that bail is a right and free, detainees are regularly made to part with hard earned money.

Yet, the same institution produced Armah who rejected such a huge sum from a robbery suspect. This gives hope that the situation is not irredeemable. The case of Abba Kyari,  an Assistant Commissioner of Police once reputed to be a super cop in charge of the Inspector-General’s Response Team is well known. He is being sought to answer to charges in the United States of America, even as the anti-narcotics agency in Nigeria is prosecuting him for providing cover for local and international drug cartels.

We commend the Independent Corrupt Practices (And Other Related Offences) Commission (ICPC) for its annual summit at which people identified as being of impecable character are given awards. This is practical advocacy to promote virtues in the public sector. Anywhere there are bad eggs, there must also be a few people who have refused to soil their fingers.

It is commendable that President Muhammadu Buhari made it a point of duty to attend the ceremony to show his administration identifies with ICPC in the crusade .  This is expected to encourage more Nigerians to join the ranks of men and women of integrity.

It should, however, be taken a notch higher by extending similar honours to such persons once identified. Equally, they should be encouraged in line of professional career progression. Nigeria deserves to have police officers who have distinguished themselves not only in the line of duty, but also of proven  integrity.

The starting point is at the recruitment stage. Every intending officer should be probed with regard to character, learning and background. Never again should any arm of our security agencies be a dumping ground for just anybody. It must be realised that unless we get the investigation of crimes right, justice is already compromised.

State governments and the private sector should join the Federal Government in promoting ethical behaviour in the public sector; the public should also join in ensuring that illicit acquisition is no longer applauded.

The task of sanitising the society is for all. We need more Daniel Armahs.

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