Senator Dino Melaye says he's the target of a nationwide police withdrawal order. It was an absurd thing to say.
“In view of the current security challenges in the country, it has become expedient for the Nigeria Police Force to streamline the deployment of its personnel attached to political and public office holders, aimed at enhancing effective and efficient policing of the country”, the statement from the IGP read.
"To this effect, a memo will be forwarded to the President for approval which will serve as a guideline or template for deployment to VIPs, political and public office holders in the country. Accordingly, a directive for withdrawal of all police officers deployed to VIPs, political and public office holders with immediate effect, is hereby given", the statement added.
In February, Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), Zone 5, Rasheed Akintunde, lamented that 80 percent of the country’s police force are watching the backs of ‘big men’ in our society.
Akintunde said: "Every big man wants personal security, they want a number of policemen to come and secure them and their family members, instead of supporting the police to work and ensure a safer environment.
"Honourable members want police security, even Reverend Fathers, Bishops now want police security, so the remaining 20% police the whole country.
"If we can redistribute policemen from some government formations and deploy them to work on their core duty, it will yield positive result."
AIG Akintunde’s revelation was embarrassing and should have sparked an outrage from an under-policed citizenry.
It is absurd that Nigeria has a police to citizen ratio of 1:600—far below what the United Nations recommends, because police personnel are carrying bags for politicians and 'Oga's wives' all over the place.
The United Nations recommends one police officer for every 450 citizens. Nigeria has about 370,000 police officers. IGP Idris has been pleading for more police recruits to meet the demand of policing an increasing population.
According to Idris, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) requires about 155,000 personnel to adequately provide security for the country.
In November of 2017, police spokesperson Jimoh Moshood kept a straight face while announcing that one Governor—Anambra’s Willie Obiano—has 221 police officers keeping him safe.
“This is done to ensure optimum safety and protection of the Executive Governor of Anambra,”Moshood said without flinching and without shame.
Why do politicians require that much police officers to keep them safe?
I attended an event the other day where former Anambra Governor Peter Obi bragged that a politician who is doing well for his people should harbor no fear of getting shot.
Which brings us to Senator Dino Melaye who represents Kogi West in the upper legislative chamber.
Soon after the announcement of the withdrawal of police personnel attached to VIPs, Melaye practically threw his toys out of the pram.
The order, he declared, was issued so he could get killed.
"The withdrawal of police from VIP…. I am the target. IG want to expose me so I can be killed. Having survived assassination attempt twice I deserve police protection in a country where I’m a tax payer. No amount of lies and blackmail will detract my attention from speaking the truth and defending it.
"Fabricated lies by Kogi State govt and the police will fail. It's utterly laughable and preposterous. It's a sign of desperation."
Melaye’s meltdown is unfortunate. His argument that he badly deserves police protection because he’s a taxpayer, flies in the face of sound reason and commonsense. Everyone I know in this country pays taxes. Should they be treated any less and exposed to the assassin’s bullets because they don’t gyrate to 'Ajekun Iya' during plenary?
But then again, we have succeeded in making Melaye and his ilk entitled. We have successfully created a political class who exist in a bubble and who think that the police are there to serve at their pleasure. Our police officers have been reduced to errand boys and beggars on the streets right before our very eyes.
Now Melaye thinks that his life is worth more than the lives of millions of Nigerians who are pathetically under-policed, because he is a politician or senator.
It’s time to begin cutting down on the many undeserved privileges of the political class for the good of our country.