Princess Nana Ngozi Dahiru, a business woman based in Abuja is the newly appointed National Women Committee Coordinator of the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC). In this interview with ENE OSHABA, she speaks on reasons she contested for the position and her plans for the police and citizens in general
What is the PCRC and what are their basic duties?
PCRC, like the name implies, is the Police Community Relations Committee, is out to build good relationship between the police and the community. It is also our duty to inform the Police, we volunteer to serve the nation and so we fund ourselves using our own little resources because we want good Police and community relationship. Most people think this is not possible but in the estate I live in, we have good relationship with the Police manning the estate and no matter how highly placed you are, you don’t insult them. An army officer insulted a Police officer one day and we met him, we were ready to arrest him and take him to court, but he apologised because he knows the army is disciplined and won’t condone such. We take care of our Police the little way we can and they are active and serve as if they are not Nigerian Police and the residents love and respect them. They are not animals, if you treat them good and take them as human beings they will work effectively.
If there is good relationship there would be peace, community will trust Police, and the Police will trust the community too.It is only when I trust Police I will be able to give him information about a visitor in my community and be rest assured that the Police won’t mention my name if the person happened to be a criminal. I am angry because our Police are hungry and angry anytime, any day because even we as PCRC, must be careful with the information we give to the police.
Tell us why you contested the position of the Women Coordinator for PCRC?
I contested for the women coordinator of the PCRC because I believe that with the position, I should be able to be a mouthpiece to speak about the Police, most importantly their welfare.
I believe as a Nigerian that the Police welfare should be looked into and they should be well placed if not above their western counterparts, at least within their level. A situation where a sergeant receives 30 or 35,000 naira as salary is not encouraging. What will he or she do with that amount when he has 3-4 children when 50,000 naira cannot handle only feeding for a family of 5, yet, the officer has to pay transportation to work, eat lunch, pay children’s school fees,? He is already an angry man then you give him guns to checkmate criminals and ensure law and order. He cannot do that faithfully rather he will look for other means of making money which the government has deprived him. In this situation, any chance that comes he will take it, except the person is rooted in the fear of God.
Your argument seems to justify unethical behavior of the Police. Are you saying they are unaware of poor salary of the Force before joining?
Yes they know but accepted to take up the job because there are no jobs, they do not have any other option and so the environment is not friendly for them. Those who have a choice don’t join Police, so those who join, join with the mind of “I will make it any how” even when they know they are not well paid. If the police are well paid, I tell you, even those recruiting will be more selective and then we will have graduates joining too.
Talking about pay, what are you recommending and how will you use your position to push that forward?
If I had my way, a police recruit should be paid between N120,000 – N150,000 for a start because Nigeria can afford it, and we need them. If we do not take care of the welfare of Police, the maltreatment of citizens will continue. There are different Committee that have been set up but none is talking about Police welfare.
If a Police officer is on a special assignment give him allowance, give him adequate tools to work with, they shouldn’t be denied their rights.
We are blessed today with a Police IG who wants to do purely Police work in truth and merit because of his passion for the job. But I also sympathize with parents and families who lost their children as well as civilians and the Police who lost their lives during the protests(ENDSARS).
A lot of respected and responsible youths have been lost in the course of a good protest which was devoid of any religious or tribal sentiments and the case of shooting shouldn’t have happened because they were fighting for their future.
From the Police recruit to the Inspector General, they are poorly paid, but if their welfare is well taken care of, there will be no protesting youths. If you recall during the #EndSARS, the youths also called to improve Police service because they do not hate them, the protest was for the Police too.
The Police have been on this level for many years, but I’m appealing to Buhari to look into their welfare critically. I also appeal to the National Assembly to wake up to their responsibility, it is a legislative issue they should look into and do the needful. Visiting traditional rulers won’t stop it, rather welfare of Police should be improved on if this is done, a lot of changes will come.
How will your position benefit women and Nigerians in general?
I’m here asking for support from all to achieve my aim of welfare of Police. If this is done, everything will fall in place, there will be peace, then you can discipline an officer who didn’t perform well.
I’m a Nigerian and the Police is serving me that’s why I advocate for them. They are human beings like you and I, we should all speak for them because they are working hard. I wanted to travel to Kogi state for some occasions and an important burial, but I cannot because there is no police on the road.
We need total restructuring of this nation because things are not working as they should. The constitution is the one handed over to us by the military and it cannot work for us now. We should all pray for our leaders, stop blame game and know that with prayers that God should use them to be a blessing to Nigeria.end
I’m here asking for support from all to achieve my aim of welfare of Police. If this is done everything will fall into place, there will be peace, then you can discipline an officer who didn’t perform well.
I’m Nigerian and the Police is serving me that’s why I advocate for them. They are human beings like you and I, we should all speak for them because they are working hard. I wanted to travel to Kogi state for some occasions and an important burial but I cannot because there is no police on the road.We need total restructuring of this nation because things are not working as they should, the constitution is one handed over to us by the military and it cannot work for us now. We should all pray for our leaders, stop blame game and know that with prayers that God should use them to be a blessing to Nigeria.