By Kehny Obafemi

Over the past weeks the news that the Nigeria Police Force may begin to earn increased wage from October has been met with various reactions from the public. Some in favor and some so not in support of the move by the Nigerian Government to better the take home salary of her service men. For me it is a 'No Issue'. Salary for serving police officer should be increased at the rate of between 10-20 % yearly. Their living Quarters should be tended to. Scholarships should be awarded to their kids and every widow (widower) of a deceased officer should be put on a monthly allowance that is need based. 

You say my demands are too much? Picture this: 

Papa Ade joined the Police Force as a recruit in 1978 without a Primary School certificate. Today he is an Inspector who does not care about his family. In fact he has two 'nuclear' families. One is with Ade's mum,with whom he has 5 kids and they all live in a one bedroom apartment,cramped together,barely sleeping,barely comfortable. In fact everything is bare in this home. Only 2 of the five kids are getting trained in some sort of Education. Sade, their eldest daughter, is training to become a hair stylist by day and by night she switches profession. If you are a club boy reading this. You might have slept with her once or twice. She is that beautiful girl that you love to call when your girlfriend denies you or you just need to be serviced by a Pro,yes a pro even though she barely knows what a hair stylist does.  
Ade is Papa Ade's first child and son, we used to be classmates but his father stopped paying his school fees when we were in J.S.S 1 ( Papa Ade was a Constable then) the same year Ade welcomed the second son, his second sibling into the family. Ade's mum tried, she borrowed, she toiled, she even begged teachers at school but Ade could not go beyond J.S.S 3, he is trying his hands on 'Yahoo' and just living from day to day, doing some 'dirty jobs' as we used to call stealing back in the days. For Ade's last 3 siblings, Ade tries, their mother tries even Sade tries but Papa Ade does not care because there is Nuclear family number 2.

Nkiruka found her way to Lagos in the Harmattan of 2002. Everyone from her tribe was heading back to the 'East' for the end of the year festivities when she was heading 'West'. Promises of a good life and a 'Lagos' status was enough to lure a 'Village girl' to the glamour of a 'GSM' handset. Block C, Room 2 was her destination. Young Emeka was athletic, strong and a jester. His friends loved him. Some girls in the barracks wish he would just ask them out so they can move in with him and start a family no stories, simple and plain. He was the perfect 'Mopol' as he matched out daily in his starched 'Kaki',galant and no nonsense. He was lucky to have a house so soon after finishing from the Police college. Many of his friends from the college do not have a place to call home. They wait,like Vultures, to feed on the carcasses of dead service men.
People were amazed. His friends, because they no longer have a crash pad. Emeka's house is no longer a 'hang-out' place. He now has a woman. Girls, who have nowhere to go, were shocked when Nkiru arrived. They did not expect Emeka to get a 'foreign' wife. He was more 'their own' than the village he hails from. Emeka has 'slept' with a few of them but luckily for him none came back with a pregnancy result. He intends to still have flings with some 'upcoming' ones. He loves to ride his luck.
Two years down the road, Emeka has moved on. Not to another state or a different division. He has moved on to another world. Where only spirits roam freely. He left behind Ebere, she is 15 months old. Her mother, the always bubbly Nkiruka now walks around like a burst bubble. No sign of life. Always dejected. The only thing she has going for her is the beer Parlor shop her late husband 'opened' for her, more for his enjoyment than for anything else. Mama Ebere, certain of what is to come. A dead husband means eviction from the Police barracks. It doesn't even matter if she has a daughter. Emeka's extended family already seized the car and Okada. The only worldly possessions Emeka had, what he made from Illegal road blocks and some 'dirty jobs'. He died in one of those dirty jobs. A 'Galant Mopol' robs a bank with his service gun, met his waterloo after the other gang members left him behind during a robbery that went south. They figured he would take care of himself since he was a Police man and they were not. Life took care of him. He was trying to get another escape vehicle when he was shot from behind. A promising police/robbery career cut short by a fellow squad member. Tongues started wailing. How can someone so young have a car after two years in the force. Everyone had suspected he was doing some 'dirty jobs', now they are sure he was. He is dead.

6 months after Emeka died, and 2 days before Mama Ebere was to be evicted from Block C, Rm 2 by Musa, Emeka's Police College friend, who has not had a house since he left the police college. (Musa paid a 6-figured sum to the Provost in charge of the eviction to make sure he gets the house-more a room than a house), Papa Ade walked into Mama Ebere's beer parlor. Two of his squad members just died. One from health related issues, high blood pressure and the other from having too much fun, driving while drunk. He walked in ready to get wasted as he called for bottle after bottle of his favorite 'Odeku'. Tipsy, he talked to Mama Ebere, asking how she was faring with her baby and life in general. She told him she was doing ok. But will start living in her beer parlor in less than a week from now because she was going to be evicted. A sorry Papa Ade told her to take heart, that he would help. He drew her closer. She was crying. He told her sorry. It was late and he was the last customer. That night Papa Ade 'Slept' in Block C, Room 2.

Papa Ade woke up happy. Mama Ebere was young. Still pretty when perceived from some other angel. He had a thought. And so did Mama Ebere. Papa Ade was a Senior officer, he could help delay eviction. And so he did. Eviction was successfully delayed for 2 months, the end which marked a new growth in Mama Ebere's womb.

Ade is about to have a 'step-sibling' and Sade is annoyed. The reason for Sade's annoyance is really not clear. Her Friend Ngozi is expecting a baby too. Ngozi was made Pregnant by Ngozi's father. Perhaps Sade wanted the same thing. Keep the expenses in the family. Nuclear family one is always looking and sounding like 'Hiroshima' when Papa Ade visits. Yes visits. Block C, Room 2 has been his home for the past two months. Will eviction make him return home? I doubt that. He already paid for a one-room self contained apartment in town for Mama Ebere. She moved in a night ago and they were there together until they realised Ebere was not in the house with them. They rushed back to the barrack to look for her and there she was crying. Her Pant and legs bloodied. They asked her what happened and all she could say was 'Papa Idris'. On investigation - trust me Police men can investigate their own issues thoroughly - they found out Papa Idris raped Ebere. The 'matter' is still at the Police station which is where it would most likely end. There will not be a court case over a 2-year old been raped by a 59 year old man. No there would be none. There are more pressing issues in the world than that. Life goes on.

From the story above it does not seem like 'Money' is an issue and that is exactly the point. I am for an increased salary structure and an improved working environment for men and women of the Nigerian police force but before the effect of such an effort can be productive, the overall mindset of the Nigerian Police officer must be put under the spotlight. Their psychological well being is the paramount issue that should be addressed. For if the Government continue to ignore this, we put our nation at risk as an increased pay will only strengthen the 'scourge' that we are trying to fight against. 

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