A number of years ago, Nigeriaâ€™s Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, publicly stated that all Nigerian policemen, current and prospective, needed to be sent for psychiatric evaluations. His reasoning was a result of what he and many others at the time, considered to be the â€˜brutal and borderline psychotic personality and behaviorâ€™ of the average Nigerian policeman.
While not holding brief for the NPF, I want to acknowledge that in many respects change, albeit slow, is taking place. Enhanced public awareness, community relations, training, and yes, mobile recording devices, are gradually changing the face of the police force.
One of those faces and ambassadors is Zamfara born Corporal Mansur Abdullahi (service number 255907). I had a chance encounter with him a few weeks ago and came away highly impressed by this law enforcement officer. l could not help but think that if every Nigerian police officer was like Corporal Abdullahi, Nigeria would certainly be a better place to live and work in. Abdullahi is exceptionally courteous, intelligent, articulate, highly well informed, and very conscious of his personal responsibility to represent his much maligned Force.
The ex-journalist in me took over. â€œWhy in the world is someone like you still a corporal after more than 15 years in the police force?â€ I queried. Very simply Abdullahi responded, â€œit does not work that way in Nigeria. At the end of the day, it depends on who you know. Iâ€™m from a small village in Zamfara. I have no one.â€
I also found out that in the past, Corporal Abdullahi had been sent into â€œprofessional Siberiaâ€ for insisting that a superior officer follow the law and not give in to the dictates of a particular influential Nigerian who had a case to answer. His reward? A posting to a very remote area.
I do not claim to have any direct contacts with senior members of the Nigerian Police Force. Maybe someone reading this does. In my humble opinion, Corporal Abdullahi deserves promotion well above his current rank and should be utilized by the NPFâ€™s PR Department as one of the leading lights of law enforcement and community relations in Nigeria. To often, we bash the Nigerian Police Force, and for good reason. On this occasion, I prefer to celebrate it.
Nigeria is in urgent need of more Corporal Mansur Abdullahis. Thank you for your service to Nigeria Sir.