One Million Chasing 10,000 Police Jobs
A slogan of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) says:
“Police is Your Friend”. Police, indeed, are friends
of the citizenry, because they are the ones
everybody looks for when confronted with threats to
life and property.
But it is also true that the Police are not very
popular with most people because the average
policeman is generally perceived as being
highhanded, corrupt, and unfriendly. They are also
very poorly treated by the Federal Government. Few
of our young people will voluntarily join the Police
Force if they have the luxury of choice.
It was an irony of sorts when the Police Service
Commission (PSC) recently invited applications
from qualified Nigerians for recruitment into the
Force based on President Muhammadu Buhari’s
approval for the recruitment of 10,000 policemen.
The Commission had advertised for the hiring of
500 Cadet ASPs, 500 Cadet Inspectors, 1,500
Specialist Officers and 7, 500 Constables.
Within a few days of the advertisement, officials of
the PSC were astounded, if not shocked, by the
response from applicants. According to Ikechukwu
Ani, Head, Press and Public Relations of the
Commission, between April 24 and May 2, 2016 no
fewer than 843,008 applications had been received.
A breakdown of this showed that 243,327
applications were received for ASP cadre, while
197,990 and 401,691 applied for the Inspector and
Police Constable cadres, respectively.
Soon after, the figure rose to over one million
applicants, leaving many wondering if the Police
was indeed as unpopular as generally held. Even
the Inspector General of Police could not help but
exclaim that he “never knew Nigerians liked the
police this much that such a gargantuan number
wants to join the Force.”
It is, however, obvious that the stampede for police
jobs has little to do with “popularity”. With an
unemployment rate of 36.8 per cent of Nigeria’s
over 170 million people, jobless Nigerians certainly
cannot be too choosy when positions are advertised
by any organisation. This was what informed the
response by 6.5 million applicants to the Nigerian
Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment in March
2014, which ended tragically with the death of 23
job seekers during a recruitment test.
The Police authorities have to exercise extreme care
in this recruitment drive, ensuring that only people
who are suitably qualified with impeccable
characters and backgrounds will be brought on
board. The process of ascertaining this must be
very painstaking to keep out bad eggs.
The large number of applicants for every job
opening, is an enduring warning bell over the
worrisome unemployment situation. We urge
governments at all levels to come up with radical
ideas to put more of our idle youth to work and
reduce the social consequences of high
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