The easiest way to kill corruption in Nigeria is to have a good police force.
This was the summation of the Area Commander, Area F of the Lagos State Police Command, Olusoji Adebayo, in a paper he delivered in Lagos on Wednesday.
Adebayo, who is an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), spoke during a training workshop organised by the Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), for police officers in Area F.
He said the uniforms of the police are powerful tools that can be used to curb corrupt practices in the country and charged officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force to use their uniforms to that effect.
He said: “Your uniforms are the most powerful tool in the world. If Nigeria will produce a good police force, the corruption in Nigeria will be turned around. If you do the right things, it will bring you good friends, but if you do the wrong things they will bring you enemies.”
He also charged the officers and men to always stand for the truth and justice, and avoid circumventing due process, even if that alienates them from their colleagues and relations.
He further said: “You must be a change agent. Let people hate you for doing what is right, but let God love you.”
The police chief also advised the officers to develop themselves and think of their lives outside the force.
“You should think of where you want to be after your work with the police. Just like there are lawyers in the police, I am a trained teacher, that is what I was trained for before I joined the police and I will go back to teaching after the police,” Adebayo added.
Earlier in his address, the executive chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran, said corruption must be addressed because of its negative consequences on the country, which include a reduction in human capital development.
He said: “Corruption reduces any chance of increasing human capital investment with the increasing number of barriers from public provisions that decrease the ability to do business. It leads to a low standard of living for the populace and creates the condition for political instability. Corruption leads to elimination of the middle class as a buffer zone within any given society and stagnates development and growth as resources are seen as an extension of the private ‘bank accounts’ of public officials.”
Adeniran also warned against politicising the anti-corruption crusade as it will do the country more harm than good.
“Political bias in the fight against corruption undermines public faith in anti-corruption efforts. In Nigeria, fighting corruption can be an excuse to persecute political opponents. Government and its anti-graft agencies are often accused of abusing their power and being biased in choosing which allegations of corruption to investigate or prosecute. In several cases, court rulings are disregarded.
“Fighting corruption is already a difficult mission. The abuse of state power compounds Nigeria’s accountability challenge. The government must be seen to be fair in applying sanctions and anti-corruption agencies must operate independently and within the scope of the law,” Adeniran said.