Vanguard (Lagos)

21 January 2013

Nigeria: Visit to Police College - ACN Faults Jonathan On Comments

Photo: Vanguard
Jonathan in a police college hostel

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said that while President Goodluck Jonathan's surprise visit to the Police College in Ikeja last week, to see the decrepit state of the training institution, is commendable, the President again dropped the ball by his comments during the visit.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said instead of using the occasion to tell Nigerians what his administration will do to uplift the training institution and many of its likes across the country, the President chose to berate imaginary enemies who are bent on embarrassing his administration, and also questioned how Channels managed to film the rot in the college.

"Mr. President, those comments were totally unnecessary, and they put a damper on what would have been a great moment for you. A surprise presidential visit is always a good strategy for leaders to see things in their real state, without the usual window dressing that heralds scheduled visits. But it must be properly managed to achieve the maximum effect. Failure to make the best of that moment is akin to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory," it said.

ACN said the expose by Channels shows that the media is alert to its watchdog responsibility, hence it should not matter how the TV station gained access to the college or who was behind it.

The party said the President can still make amends by making a policy statement on how his administration plans to turn around the fortunes of the police college in particular, and all the police training institutions across the country in general, as part of an general effort to improve the overall welfare of the men and women who are saddled with the responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of all citizens.

"Subjecting police men and women to dehumanising and demeaning conditions, the type exposed by Channels, during training means we cannot and should not expect them to be exemplary after their training, Nothing good can come out of what we saw in that college.

"Terrible as the state of the Police College in Ikeja is, it represents a tip of the iceberg when compared with the pervasive rot in police barracks and police stations, as well as the generally poor welfare of the police. There is no doubt that the pervasive corruption in our country and the lack of maintenance culture contributed to what has now become a global embarrassment to the whole of Nigeria, not just to the Jonathan Administration.

"Therefore, there is no better time than now for the Administration to embark on a concerted effort to reverse the rot. It may also not be a bad idea for the President, who was reportedly angry and shocked at what he saw during the visit, to order a probe into how the institution deteriorated so badly, with a view to prevent a recurrence," it said.

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Jonathan in a police college hostel

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