Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
The Inspector General of Police (IG), Solomon Arase, on Tuesday in Enugu identified “uncertain future and fear of the unknown” as the major causes of the possible reasons for corruption and unprofessional conducts in the nation’s police force.
Arase who spoke to journalists shortly after inaugurating Police Estate comprising 50 houses of 100 units of two-bedroom flats, named after former IG, Ogbonnaya Onovo (rtd) for the inspectors and rank/files cadres noted however said steps have been taken by his administration to address the problem.
“When you talk of unprofessional conduct or corruption, corruption is born out of fear of unknown. You work in the force for 35 years or 60 years whichever one comes first you want to retire; you are not sure of where you are going to retire to and you want to take risk.
“So we want to use this one to tell them that there is always a hope if you remain a good policeman,” he said.
Arase who said the housing project was part of police welfare programme for officers especially Inspectors and rank/files, said “we believe we can start planning their future immediately they get into the force so that by the time they are five to 10 years in service they can boast and be proud owners of a house.
“The scheme is very flexible because they are all members of corporative society. Every member of Nigeria police is a member of corporative society. So if you are a member you pay N2,000 or N3,000 every month that one we put it into your mortgage. So when you start paying that one gradually in less than five years the house is less than N5 million and you become a house owner,” the IG said.
He said when he became the IG a year ago, he swore to change the perception of the public and police themselves have about the police by improving their welfare.
He said it was the inspectors and the rank and file that make the police thick and there was need to make them feel happy.
The IG said he was also determined to promote them as and when due and stated that he has made true to his resolve by promoting them to the point that “today, there is no constable in the force.
“When I became the IG a year ago, I decided to change the perception of the people against the police. The inspectors and the rank and file are the ones that make the police thick. I said that I would promote them when they are due and today, there are no constables in the force,” Arase said.
Arase said that in order to remove the barracks mentality among his men, 30 per cent of the housing units were allocated to the civilian population so that they would mingle with everybody and do away with the civilian mentality.
Speaking at the occasion, Onovo who was visibly happy that his modest contribution to the force was being appreciated by naming the Estate after him, said he would not want them to treat the estate like the barracks but to treat it as their own.
He said he would be visiting the estate from time to time to see that there are no leaking roofs and dirty environment.
The former IG, Onovo said his own father was a police man and that he would dedicate the honour done him to his father who retired a police sergeant.
“This honour done to me today, I will dedicate it to my father and other rank and file,” Onovo said.