N100bn CACOVID commitment; cue for government to start work on Police reforms

The Coalition Against COVID-19, otherwise known as CACOVID, has continued to donate heavily towards the country’s objective of bouncing back from the socio-economic effects of the global pandemic which has left many economies around the world reeling and kneeling.

The latest effort from the private sector-led coalition sees it commit one hundred billion naira towards the purchase of equipment for the Police and the renovation of 44 police stations in the wake of attack of hoodlums following a bloody end to the #EndSARS protests.

The #EndSARS protests, in particular, was a clamour towards the overhaul of the Police system which seemed to condone indiscriminate abuse of fundamental human rights, be it movement, association, property ownership or life. 

One of the items on the #5for5 agenda of the protesting youth was improved welfare for the Police which was comprised of improved working conditions for the (wo)men in black as well as increased remuneration.

The latest commitment from CACOVID is a step in the right direction towards realising better welfare for police officers and they deserve commendation for their valiant efforts, having already spent about 43 billion naira on palliatives and other interventions.

However, CACOVID is a private sector initiative and there is only so much they can do. More importantly, the effort should be a cue for the government to kick start a large scale reforms of the police. 

Forty-four is only a fraction of the police stations all over the country. Many more will need to be refurbished. Purchase of equipment is also welcome but it is only part of an expected total reform.

There is the need for the government to take it further than CACOVID in implementing reforms as issues still persist on police high-handedness. Else, they risk a repeat of the police versus the youth debacle and would defeat the efforts of the private sector.

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