The average Nigerian is wary of the Nigerian Police Force and its officers.
On Thursday, August 17, 2017, the Nigerian Police Force responded to a survey that it is a corrupt institution.
A survey by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that bribes were paid 82.3 million times by Nigerians between 2015 and 2016, and police officers were said to have asked directly for bribes the most times.
Jimoh Moshood, the Police Public Relations Officer denied the findings in this report. “Corruption is a personal thing and Nigeria Police Force is not a corrupt institution and it is not for anybody to have made such allegation,” he said in the statement.
A lot of Nigerians would disagree with this statement by the Police. As a matter of fact, a Twitter thread was created by Nigerians to narrate they're less than pleasurable experience with men of the Nigerian Police Force.
On Sunday, August 20, 2017, Seyi Taylor tweeted “Since @YomiShogunle doesn't believe the NBS survey, maybe Nigerians should reply this with personal experiences with the police. No hearsay.”
Nigerians gladly joined the thread. @iamQuedy tweeted about a man who was jailed for allegedly stealing only to be seen in public a few days later. “My house cleaner stole 90k from my neighbour a few weeks back. He was arrested. Taken to the station. Meant to be charged to court. Saw him in the neighbourhood a few days ago. Apparently, he “settled” them to set him free. FML.”
There are crazy many tales about the Nigerian Police Force. This is not a smear campaign against the institution. We are not strangers to road blocks and police men with AK-47s demanding bribes from bus drivers and bike men.
Even though there aren't many road blocks in Lagos again, the SARS has come to replace the symbolic inefficiencies of the police.
Stories of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad popularly known as SARS extorting money from innocent young men under the flimsy claim that they are Internet fraudsters.
The policemen have released a statement that it would look into these cases of extortion but nothing concrete has been revealed or done.
This is not the first time the NPF are targeting innocent Nigerians under the guise that they are Yahoo boys. In 2008, it was popular for policemen to wrongfully innocent young Nigerians as Internet fraudsters.
The Nigerian Police will need more than a statement to prove that it is not corrupt and regain the trust of the public.
“The Police Is Your Friend” is a popular saying among the men in the black but many Nigerians know that this slogan means nothing.