In the Chinese picture-letter
alphabet, the symbol for crisis is a
combination of two characters – one
meaning “danger” and the other
“opportunity.” You can look at it
Nigeria is beset with smorgasbord of
problems. The same analogy of the
Chinese picture-letter alphabet can
be applied to the Nigerian case.
Problems that appear intractable,
scary, intimidating, and draining will
be viewed by wise and progressive
leaders as an opportunity to serve
Problems can lead to growth or
grumbling. It all depends on the
response. And getting into hot
water every often has a way of
keeping a person clean.
Consider this: Nelson Mandela saw
problem – Apartheid – as well as
opportunity – liberation of his
He chose to stand for something
rather than fall for nothing. He was
imprisoned for 27 years. Apartheid
became history. He went from being
a prisoner to a president.
A nation, like an individual, wants
progress. And what is progress?
Progress is getting closer to the
place where you want to be or
where the nation wants to be as in
the case of Nigeria.
If a nation along its journey toward
progress has taken a wrong turn,
then to go forward becomes difficult
if not impossible and does not get
such a country closer to where it
has to go.
But if a nation is on the wrong road
and wants to make progress, it
means making an about-turn and
walking back to the right road. The
sooner it turns back, the more
progress she makes.
Part of a survival plan is to hold up
rather than fold up in the midst of
problems. But the politicians in
charge of Nigeria are like people
glancing at faces in a mirror. They
see themselves, walk away, and
forget what they look like.
The bodies of evidence against the
people who are in charge of our
store house confirm that in all our
problem areas they fold up instead
of hold up.
No doubt, they are painfully familiar
with the self-created problems and
self inflicted calamities caused by
their greed and corruption that are
crippling the country.
They circle around the problems,
pretending as if they’re doing
something to solve them. They
close their eyes, shut their ears,
block their noses, hold their
breaths, and walk away. It’s
business as usual.
The videos titled “Nigeria Police
College: On the Brink of Collapse”
contain an investigative report by
Channels TV, Lagos on Nigeria Police
College in Ikeja, Lagos, has gone
viral in the social media.
The Nigeria Police College, Ikeja,
Lagos is the premier police college
in the country.
The Channels TV correspondent,
Ayoola Kasim, at the entrance of the
college said: “If you look at the
Premier Police College from here
(outside) it is hard to imagine the
state of things on the inside.”
Then she weaves her way through
the cluster of buildings to open up
the bowels as it were, of littered,
jumbled, and ram shackled
The buildings look fidgety,
collapsible, rusty, dusty, and dying
that you can easily mistake it for
Nigeria’s icon ghetto – Ajegunle. It’s
a death dungeon called Police
Continued her reporting, Kasim said
“And when one is granted the
opportunity to come in, the complex
look good for the visitor to assume
that all is well within the college.”
Students were herded in a
classroom that could easily pass for
a warehouse. A dingy classroom
with falling ceilings serves as
makeshift lecture room that also
functions as the cafeteria.
Students sit skin-to-skin in
overcrowded classrooms like
sardine-packed cows being
transported in a rickety truck from
far away Kano to Lagos.
Nothing resembles a classroom
where meaningful, rigorous
academic training in crime
prevention and detection, safety
and security, and general policing is
“When it comes to the training
facilities, much is left to be desired,”
Kasim said. “But between the office
walls things are real bad,” continues
Kasim. “The office of the officer in
charge of works can only boast of a
typewriter and a damaged chair,”
I see a lady toiling laboriously,
banging her fingers on the key
board of a typewriter which looks
like one of the first generation of
IBM (or is it Brother?) typewriters.
The noise of the strokes on the
keyboard sounds like the rumbling
locomotive engine of the newly
refurbished 19th century coaches of
the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
A good manicure will be necessary
at the end of the day to restore the
shape and beauty of her fingers.
Kester Ifeadi, the building
consultant, sounds so despondent
about the learning environment of
the police college.
“Of course learning facility is the
key. We don’t have learning
facilities here. We use cafeteria as
lecture rooms. This is supposed to
be the premier police college. It is
terrible… unbelievable,” says Ifeadi.
“When it comes to the driving
school,” Kasim alerts her listeners,
“the college has seen better days.”
The driving school defies any
adjective that can adequately
describe the school.
No one can say for sure the type/
model/year of the abandoned
vehicle in the driving school. It looks
like the relics of weapons of war
jettisoned by Pharaoh and his army
amidst the Red Sea.
The Olympic size swimming pool lay
bare with nothing that suggests
swimming or pool. It’s dried, dead
“Since the establishment of the
college there has been no
developments or renovations,” says
a worry-looking elderly Jonah
Mavah, the Deputy Commandant of
“The intention of the white people
was to have everything on the
grounds, Olympic size swimming
pool, and good water system. The
facilities were good. Now all the
facilities are overstretched,” says
According to Mavah, the college was
originally designed to accommodate
700 students. It now serves 2, 500
“The college that used to have the
best shooting range in the region
now cannot boast of any,” says
The library looks like a stuffed flea
market for used books.
“The staff of the college reluctantly
told me they cannot remember the
last time books were purchased by
the library,” says Kasim.
“Outdated books are all you can
find in the library. The only books
you can find are in the 1970s, no
computers, and no internet. You can
see how I’m sweating here, no air
condition, no fan,” says Kasim.
The college dorms are in equal
dilapidated, worn-out, dangerous
and toxic state. It should be the last
place for human habitation. It looks
like abandoned refugee camp now
populated by mammals of different
“This is the male dormitory 10 built
by colonial masters in the 1940s,”
The building is an empty shell with
no windows, no doors, no electricity,
with water on the floor and leaks all
over the place.
The building resembles a bullet
riddled building from a long ago civil
The students look like animals that
are out of their caves for a brief
respite. The dorm is adorned with
beds propped up with bricks to
avoid falling apart.
Blood stained mosquito nets form
mushroom-shaped clouds over
To say the toilets and the
bathrooms are dirty is being over
generous. Looking at the pictures,
one can literally smell the oozing
stench of hazardous fumes.
The female dormitory is no different
Prolonged viewing of the pictures
can give you nausea!
The surroundings serve as toileting
facilities. Students roam freely to
urinate openly without hesitation.
Meals are also served in the same
According to Kasim, each student is
fed on N150 per day.
Plastic buckets like ones used for
excrements contained students’
meals. Students scramble for a
piece of the meal. I can see
students dividing/ sharing meats,
stew, eba or amala.
How can police students trained for
13 months under the ordeal
situation reported above come out
with the best intentions? How can
they give their best to the country?
Without the required training, skill,
and the psychology how would they
fight crimes and protect the public?
The Ikeja Police College is a shame
of a nation!
Nigeria’s Police began with a 30-
member consular guard formed in
Lagos Colony in 1861. In 1879, a
1,200-member armed paramilitary
constabulary was formed.
In 1896, the Lagos Police was
established. The force known as NPF
(Nigeria Police Force) was formed in
1930 not too long after northern
and southern Nigeria was
amalgamated in 1914.
The Ikeja Police College is a typical
example of our corrupt system. It
shows how the people are deceived
The humiliating acts of the Nigerian
government are not only corrupt
In the 2013 fiscal budget year,
N311 billion ($1.99 billion) was
appropriated for the Nigerian Police.
A total of N2.046 billion from
2009-2012 was allocated for police
colleges and training institutions:
2009 – N700 million, 2010 – N759
million, 2011 – N291 million, and
2012 – N296 million.
What happened to the annual
budgets for police affairs? What was
the money spent on? Where did the
What’s the role of the minister for
police affairs? When was the last
time he was on tour of duty of police
colleges in the country? What did he
do with the money? How was the
Do we have a police commission? If
so, what’s the job description? What
about the IG of police? What’s his
role in all this?
Isn’t it time we decentralized the
Lugard outfit called Nigerian Police
Force (NPF)? What’s wrong with
every state and local government
having their police force? Is the NPF
too big to be split? Who is afraid of
the split? What do we have to lose
by balkanizing NPF?
The legislators have failed us. They
are mercenary and selfish. Our own
democracy has proved impossible
and corruption inevitable.
Because politics is business, that’s
what’s wrong with it.
The spirit of politicians is profit, not
patriotism, of credit, not honor, of
individual gain, not national
prosperity, of trade and dickering,
We let our leaders loot our
commonwealth. We let them bribe
our wheedle and bribe our
sovereignty from us. We let them
pass bad laws that no one obeys.
We let them give away public
property in exchange for nothing
and often legislate impossible laws
at our peril. We allow ourselves to
be used for oppression and
The unannounced, unscheduled
visit of President Jonathan to the rot
called Nigeria Police College initially
stirs welcome news that at last Mr.
Jonathan is moving in a different
Even before the ‘new’ Jonathan’s
picture could grace the front pages
of next day’s newspapers, he buried
the lead story because of the puerile
and pedestrian questions he asked
the Commandant of the college.
Listen to the Commander-in-Chief:
“How was Channels TV able to
penetrate and record the mess
without detection?” “When was the
With joyful defiance, the president
supplies the zinger: “This is a
calculated attempt to damage the
image of the government, as the
college is not the only training
institution in the country.”
Wrong questions, Mr. President!
With the FOI, Channels TV doesn’t
need any permit to carry out its
watchdog function. It doesn’t have
to sneak into the college either.
“When was the recording done?”
Sir, recording was not done before
you took office.
The president doesn’t get it. He’s
more concerned about the image of
his administration than the welfare
of students who are being trained to
protect the people, confront and
combat armed robbers, crimes, and
other criminal elements in our
society. He doesn’t give a damn!
He missed a rare opportunity to
demonstrate some leadership spine.
There is a world of difference
between activity and progress. It’s
not the visit that matters, but his
reaction and action to the problem
Calculated attempt to damage the
image of the government? Mr.
President, what image are you
talking about? Image of corruption?
Image of not being able to tame
Boko Haram? Image of lies and
hypocrisy? Image of secrecy and
subversion of justice and fairness?
Image of doing nothing?
Image of political paralysis that has
defined your administration? Image
of insensitivity to the plight of the
jobless? The homeless and the
multitude of the poor? The army of
the unemployed? Collapsed
infrastructures? Image of a Nigeria
as a failed state? Can you explain
yourself better to Nigerians?
Mr. President, truth be told the
image of your government has been
damaged from the first day you
took office. From day one as
president, the spirit of graft and
lawlessness has become the
What is to be done?
The punishment for those who are
responsible for the rot should be
swift and severe like that of Sodom
and Gomorrah in the following
1. Fire the Inspector General of
2. Fire the minister of police affairs.
3. Fire the chair and members of
the police commission.
4. Disband and reconstitute the
oversight House and Senate
Committee on police affairs.
5. Replace the Ikeja Police College
with 21st century police academy.
In the Chinese picture-letter