With the gale of unemployment facing Nigeria and the various opportunities that the Nigeria Police have made available for recruitment into the force, the expectation is that the force would be overwhelmed by prospective applicants but that is not the case as many unemployed and eligible Nigerian youths have shun the force, adducing various reasons; majorly are the poor image of the force; poor welfare and funding. Recently, the Force Public Relations Officer, Police Commissioner, Frank Mba, disclosed that states in South – South, South – East and Lagos have not met their quotas necessitating extension of the ongoing recruitment exercise by the force. According to him, out of 81, 005 applications received nationwide as of January 7, only 1, 404 applications (Less than 2% of the total applications) were received from the five states in South – East while 261 applications were received from Lagos. A student of Public Administration in the Imo State University, Benson Orumagba (A.K.A. Blaze), said it was easy to tell why most people police work, unlike previous times.
He noted that the Nigerian Police Force has become a byword for corruption and impunity, asking “who wants to build a career on extortion and intimidation?” He said: “What will inspire any young Nigerians to join the Police? Just tell me one thing that can inspire us to join the police. Just behind our school, at IMSU back gate there, you see police special teams cornering students and literally ‘robbing’ them at gunpoint.
‘‘Once you are a young man and you drive a flashy car, you are automatically a criminal or Yahoo boy. They search your phone and search your person and no matter what they find, they ever hardly take anybody to the station, you pay there and you are released. These policemen hardly ever get punished for their excesses no matter how many times we report. For Mr. Christopher Umweni, 22, from Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State, said, lack of awareness is another reason while Emmanuel Asanagwa, 26, of Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area, blamed bad governance for it, saying that many of the youths are scared of dying as the level of insecurity is too high.
He said young people have seen that many of those who joined the military in the last few years were brought back in body bags. Also, speaking, Miss Esse Joseph, 25, Oredo Local Government Area of the state, said what is responsible for the low level of applicants is the high level of insecurity and the way police personnel are looked down upon.
In Port Harcourt, Rivers State, some of the youths blamed corrupt practices in the force for not applying, saying that applicants are extorted by those in charge of the recruitment exercise hence many of them stay away. A few of them also cited the conduct of some policemen as a strong put off, stating that the way some policemen extort civilians in the course of their duties is not a good thing to behold. One of them, a newspaper distributor in his late 20s, with a school certificate, said that he has always loved to be a policeman, but pointed out that he does not know any top police officer to “follow up” his recruitment drive.
that finished secondary school two years ago, said she would love to join the police. However, she said that her father passed on four years ago, and that her struggling mother cannot afford to sponsor her in the tertiary institution. Another youth, an accounting graduate, who supervises mobile operators of a lotto business, said that he can’t sacrifice his degree to become a constable.
In Lagos State, Dare Shonubi, who is a fresh university graduate, described Nigeria police as ‘Northern Company,’ where other tribes don’t get promotion, but remain on a rank for years. Shonubi, who is from Ogun State, said in November last year his father persuaded him to join the force but he refused due to security situation of the country and poor salary.
John Emeka, a graduate from University of Ibadan, said the last thing that would ever happen to him is to join the Nigeria Police Force. He adduced the insecurity in the land and lack of welfare as some of his reasons. ‘‘I can’t join police, I would rather become a reverend father, I am presently working with a company and I am good with the salary,” he said. Alhaji Yunus Olalekan, a commercial driver said as a father he would never allow his children to join the police force, saying anyone who tried to go against his wish he will disown such a child. A trader, who simply gave her name as Iya Bose, said there is curse on police, they are evil people. ‘‘My brother, don’t let me waste your time, I have three children and the last one is about to write her senior certificate exam, my husband and I never thought of persuading anyone of them to join police.
Tarilate Harcourt, a youth in his late 20s in Yenagoa, said: ‘‘Police work is a cursed work. It is not a good work. That is why many youths don’t want to join police. Another youth, Destiny John, a secondary school leaver in his early 20s, seeking admission into the university, said he doesn’t plan joining the police force while Pere Bekeware, said most youths in Niger Delta are more interested in political appointments and nothing else. Nathan Ombu, a parent said: “Most of these youths may not even know that the opportunity exists. Jobs like that are based on applications, so if they didn’t receive the information and may be few forms came to this state, it will also affect it, and the truth is that people don’t want to do police work. Another parent, Opus Kalama, also blamed lack of awareness on the poor applicants from the state and region.
In Umuahia, Abia State capital, Emeka Ejea and Onyema Okafor said they were hearing of the recruitment for the first time, but promised to visit the portal and fill the form. For Obinna Okolo, a graduate of English, Delta State University (DELSU) Abraka, living in Asaba, he is afraid of dying young as joining the police force with all the killings in the country may lead to his untimely death. While Michael Oghenero, a graduate of Philosophy of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) Edo State, said he is also not interested in the job, saying that the force is treated badly by the government and not a place for any young person to develop a career. Efemana Itiako, who hails from Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta state, also said police officers are neglected by the government, therefore, it is not a place for anyone to get near.