Police brutality, harassment and extortion have reached stages in Nigeria that they are now taken for granted. Police officials can be seen unobscured in broad daylight taking bribes from commercial transport operators daily as they mount roadblocks stoping cars randomly for checks on vehicle particulars.
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad established to curb violent crimes and robbery has morphed into a social monster, soaked in the murky waters of corruption, incompetence and civilian harassment.
With the creation of so many units to go after juicy cases with potential returns, SARS have felt sidelined and have waded into civil matters and other areas it was never established to combat. The results us a police force sinking in new lows unprecedented even by Nigerian standards.
Nigeria may well be the only country in the world where both criminals and law abiding citizens share a mutual distrust and suspicion for the police.
It comes as no suprise when confusion and chaos hit Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, as police officers deployed to the state on special duty took to the streets, barricading the highway to protest six months of unpaid allowances.
The police officers were said to have been deployed to Borno State from various units across Nigeria to help in the fight against insurgency.
The angry police officers were also shooting in the air on Monday morning forcing motorists nearby to scamper to safety.
One of the police officers, who asked for anonymity, told PREMIUM TIMES that “we can no longer tolerate this; for over six months now we have no allowances not any decent accommodation; we sleep on corridors of officers and sometimes in the open air; enough is enough”.
The Commissioner of Police in Borno State, Damian Chukwu, who spoke to journalists on phone said the police is aware of the situation. He explained that the unpaid allowances had to do with the delay in signing the 2018 budget.
Mr Chukwu said Borno state has the largest deployments of police officeers on special duty in the country. He said there are about 44 units of such deployments in the state.