#ENDSARS: How Tech Can Improve Policing in Nigeria
The power of tech through social media can be very potent. This is evident from past campaigns, such as #BringBackOurGirls and #OccupyNigeria that have shaped social and political issues such that not a few policies have been rescinded/advanced in Nigeria.
Over the last few days, young Nigerians have taken over twitter to decry disgusting practices of men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), an arm of the Nigerian Police Force dedicated to fighting robbery in the country. In the execution of their mandate, complaints of extortion, threat to life, physical assault, verbal abuse etc. have been reported variously. #EndSARS, the trending issue in Nigeria is clear evidence that Nigerian youths have had enough. Below are a few tweets that have trended on social media under the #ENDSARS campaign:
Even some celebrities have joined the fray. For example:
Reacting to the storm of tweets to end SARS, the Nigerian Police Force tweeted recently:
It is apparent Nigerians are not impressed by the IGP’s directive to reorganise SARS. Nigerians actually want to know what reforms are being implemented, with timelines and Key performance indicators to crosscheck what they encounter on the streets versus what the police says has been implemented. This is because in April 2015, the then Acting-Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, directed the IGP Monitoring Unit (X-Squad), and the Force Provost Marshall, to enforce anti-corruption directives in order to check corrupt practices among police personnel. If those directives were enforced, there is no way this tech eruption would have occurred.
Being innovative in the discharge of their duties as the police is imperative at this time. A constant evolution and upgrade should have been on the agenda, and not this fire brigade approach to solving issues. In a country of software developers and computer programmers, who are daily working on apps that better the lives of Nigerians, an app to monitor the activities of the force should be developed for better security. Apps that immediately send a distress call to the monitoring team to intimate them of activities of the force, and lets you know if you are being wrongfully arrested by simply imputing the charges brought against you on the spot should be developed.
Why have they been operating without cams and in unmarked vehicles for a long time?
Live feed coverage of their outings will make them understand they are being watched. When you are caught, it is their word against theirs but a video footage clears any doubts about any encounters between SARS and the public. A few months ago, Outrepreneurs recommended a replacement of patrol policing with robocops for Africa, to increase patrol efficiency and take armed men out of harm’s way. Read the previous post on recruiting Robopolice force HERE
The Nigerian youth is restless and wants answers, but only through the application of innovation and technology can this problem end.
Chiamaka Akuba50 Posts
Chiamaka Akuba is a graduate of Mass Communication of the University of Lagos, Nigeria. She is passionate about emerging markets and entrepreneurship and is actively working with the industry. She loves her conversations challenging and can’t help laughing when you call her ‘Honourable Writer of the Federal Republic'. Chiamaka is a Staff Writer at Outrepreneurs.