A few days after the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Ahoada East Local Council in Rivers State, Superintendent of Police (SP), Bako Angbashim, was murdered in Odumude Forest following an ambush by suspected Iceland cult group, Nollywood veteran Kanayo O. Kanayo’s appearance and visit to the Enugu state Commissioner of Police was announced with pomp by the Nigerian Police Force, through its official Facebook handle.
Although his appearance was unconnected with the murder, it no doubt offered a means of exultation to the Force that has become notorious for its blatant human right abuses, bribery and corruption.
The caption to the post read “ENUGU POLICE COMMAND PHOTO NEWS OF TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2023-Nollywood veteran actor, Kanayo O. Kanayo sacrifices time, pays a courtesy visit on the Command’s Police Commissioner, CP Kanayo, lauds Police’s Doggedness in Stabilizing Security in Enugu State.”
The Nigerian Police Force has long been marred by a tainted image characterized by allegations of corruption, brutality, and inefficiency. These issues have eroded public trust in law enforcement, making it imperative for the force to embark on a comprehensive image makeover. One innovative approach to revamp the image of the Nigerian Police Force is to collaborate with Nollywood stars. The recent visit of Nollywood veteran actor Kanayo O. Kanayo to the Enugu Police Command highlights the potential of such partnerships. However, it is crucial to emphasize that such associations must be followed by meaningful actions to truly reform the police force.
Nollywood has a significant influence not just within the country but also across Africa and the diaspora. Nollywood stars are admired, respected, and often seen as role models by millions of Nigerians. Leveraging their fame and influence can be a game-changer in transforming the public’s perception of the police force.
Collaborations with Nollywood stars provide an opportunity for the Nigerian Police Force to garner positive media coverage. News articles, social media posts, and television segments featuring police-Nollywood interactions can reshape public narratives. These interactions can highlight the positive aspects of the force, such as their commitment to public safety and the protection of citizens.
Associating with Nollywood stars can help change the way the public views the police. When citizens see their favorite actors and actresses endorsing the police force, it can lead to a shift in perception from fear and mistrust to respect and cooperation.
Nollywood celebrities can serve as role models for young Nigerians. By partnering with the police, they send a powerful message that law enforcement can be an honorable and respectable career choice, encouraging more young people to join the force.
While associating with Nollywood stars can provide an initial boost to the image of the Nigerian Police Force, it is essential to recognize that this alone will not be sufficient. To effect real change and regain public trust, the force must follow up these associations with concrete actions and reforms.
1. Transparency and Accountability: The police force must commit to greater transparency and accountability. This includes addressing allegations of corruption and brutality swiftly and transparently, with appropriate disciplinary actions against officers found guilty of misconduct.
2. Community Policing: Implement community policing strategies that foster stronger ties between law enforcement and the communities they serve. This approach encourages collaboration between the police and community members to identify and address security challenges.
3. Training and Education: Invest in continuous training and education for police officers. This includes training in de-escalation techniques, human rights, and cultural sensitivity to ensure that officers are better prepared to handle diverse situations with professionalism.
4. Technological Advancements: Embrace technology to enhance policing. Implement body cameras, establish online reporting systems, and use data analytics to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of law enforcement.
5. Public Engagement: Maintain open lines of communication with the public. Regular town hall meetings, community forums, and feedback mechanisms can help the police force understand community concerns and build trust.
6. Support for Officers: Ensure that police officers are adequately compensated, given access to mental health support, and provided with the necessary resources to perform their duties effectively. A motivated and well-equipped police force is more likely to uphold the law with integrity.
The visit of Nollywood veteran actor Kanayo O. Kanayo to the Enugu Police Command serves as a promising example of how partnerships between the Nigerian Police Force and Nollywood stars can kickstart efforts to rebuild the force’s tarnished image. However, this is just the beginning. To achieve lasting change, the force must take concrete steps towards transparency, accountability, community engagement, and improved training. Only by coupling celebrity endorsements with tangible reforms can the Nigerian Police Force regain the trust and respect of the Nigerian people and become a true symbol of law and order. The journey to a reformed police force is a marathon, not a sprint, and sustained efforts are essential for long-term success.