Compared to other security agencies like the Army, Air Force and Navy, police officers are the least cared for.
"The police is your friend!" So goes the popular saying. But with the cases of injustice meted out to some 'innocent' citizens, most Nigerians will have every cause to question the above assertion.
A case of police brutality was recorded in Akwa-Ibom state where a motorist who refused to part with some amount of money as bribe, was battered by a police officer who used the butt of his gun to break the man's head.
Another case was recorded in Ondo State, when a policeman pushed a nursing mother and her young son off a commercial motorcycle in an attempt to force the 'Okadaman' to part with the sum of N100, causing the woman and the baby to be injured in the process.
Analysts have attributed these incidents to low educational qualification of some officers and the very little attention being paid to issues of their welfare.
Compared to other security agencies like the Army, Air Force and Navy, police officers are the least paid and cared for. A typical example is the housing facilities provided for police officers.
While military officers were allocated houses in Mambilla, Mogadishu, W.U Bassey, Niger, Abacha, Lungi barracks located in Maitama and Asokoro, the police have provided none of these facilities for its officers. The closest to the above listed for police is the M.D Abubakar Barrack located in the Dei-Dei area of Abuja.
Named after a former Inspector-General of Police, Pulse learnt that houses were originally built for the Gbagi people (the original inhabitants of Abuja) by the Mallam Nasir el-Rufai administration in 2003. The federal government took over most lands belonging to them following the relocation of the Federal Capital Territory from Lagos to Abuja in December, 1991.
"It was el-Rufai who built these houses for the Gbagi people but they rejected it because the houses are too small, there was no light and it was too far from the city. After some months, armed robbers began to use the houses as hideout after causing mayhem on the expressway.
"The former inspector general of Police, Tafa Balogun then sent some officers here to help curb the situation. They stayed here for a while after which they took over the place," a source told our correspondent.
Police officers who live in the 'barrack' work in nearby Divisions like Zuba, Dei-Dei, Kubwa, Madalla and even the Force Headquarters, which houses the office of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
Located in along the Kubwa-Zuba express road, the barrack lacks basic amenities such as potable water, good roads and a hospital.
"We stayed here without electricity for almost ten years despite the fact that there is a high-tension transmission line behind us. We don't have water or hospital here. The living condition here is very poor. We are prone to snake bites because of the bushes here.
"Although we stay here for free, if an officer is moving out, he will give the house to another person for a fee. This fee is usually collected for the renovation he may have carried out in the house before moving in.
Everyday, you keep hearing that a policeman killed someone here and there. How can someone who wakes up daily from such a place be friendly? How can someone here discharge his or her duties effectively? The police is your friend only in words o, not in action," said a serving police who spoke to Pulse correspondent on the condition of anonymity.
Truth be told, Police authorities must begin to pay more attention to the welfare of its personnel for the force to truly become "the friend of the poeple."
See photos from the Dei-Dei barrack in Abuja below: