The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, has revealed that no fewer than 359 policemen were killed on duty between January 2014 and April 2016.
Arase made this known at a lecture he delivered at the University of Jos, entitled: ‘Police and Public Partnership in Prevention and Control of Violent Crimes and Conflicts in Nigeria’, according to a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report.
He said 272 policemen sustained various degrees of injuries within the same period, adding that the casualties occurred while intervening in civil conflicts.
The Inspector-general said the officers paid the supreme price “to enhance community peace and security in the country.” He said the killing of police personnel had steadily been on the rise since 2009 due to terrorist attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in the North-east.
Arase said police personnel required diverse skills to tackle modern crimes, “especially since criminal elements are arming themselves with more sophisticated arms”.
According to him, the work of policemen has become more difficult in societies like Nigeria, where there are a mutual distrust between the police and the public.
Arase said assistance to the police was often withheld by the citizens and that had affected the police in the discharge of their duties. He said the factors that undermine effective partnership between the citizens and the police had their roots in the circumstance in which the police emerged in the country.
The inspector-general said policing had been made a tough task due to the inability of the country to introduce required reforms for the re-orientation of the inherited police forces. The others were lack of resources and skills, widespread disrespect for the law by the citizens across all the sectors and strata of the society.
Arase said attempts to enforce the law were often resisted by a significant proportion of the population who resist any attempt to make them subservient to the law, authority and the Police Force.
He also decried the dearth of basic logistics and resources, especially transportation, telecommunication, arms and ammunition, accommodation and other items crucial to boosting the morale of the force.
The inspector-general added that the challenges had been worsened by poor intelligence gathering techniques as well as weak criminal investigation gadgets.