The chairman of the Police Service Commission has slammed numerous Nigerian security agencies – including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) – as ‘useless’ at the opening of a three-day biennial retreat in Ibom State. Mr Parry Osayande, who has been chairman since April, 2008 described the groups as “white elephant security agencies”.
Osayande argued that the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) had been undermined in effectiveness due to numerous security agencies, and that the NPF has been left lacking in funds and governmental support. His views were backed by the minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Adamu Waziri, but received criticism from the Minister of Interior – Capt Emmanuel Iheanacho. Iheanacho hit back saying that it would be impossible to manage the security agencies in Nigeria under just one organisation.
The NPF has been criticised for deep seated corruption and violence. In 2008, a news story about the murder of a driver who refused to pay policemen the expected ’20-naira-checkpoint-bribe’surprised few. The brutality of police in Nigeria seems so engrained in the culture that most do not expect anything less than violence in return for non-cooperation.
So, is the chairman missing the point? Is it a lack of funds and an excess of parallel security agencies the real problem, or something much more complex?