Pastor Babatunde Bakare, the Overseer of Citadel Global Community Church, who at some point in his life ran as vice presidential candidate to President Muhammadu Buhari is proposing Ordinary National Diploma (OND) from a recognised polytechnic as the minimum qualification for recruitment of people into the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) going forward.
Apparently reacting and suggesting ways of correcting the anomalies that led to the #ENDSARS protests across the nation, Bakare said such OND holders should be those who finished in the second-class lower division at the minimum. He said with this, the Nigeria Police Academy would be compelled “to upgrade to a degree-awarding tertiary institution affiliated with a Nigerian university,” while Nigeria Police Force would “transform into a Nigeria Police Service, and further build the bridge between Nigerians and the Police.”
Bakare made the suggestion on Sunday in a nationwide broadcast in his church in Lagos against the backdrop of the #EndSARS protests to call for a reformation of the Nigeria Police Force. He also advocated a restructuring of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
He said, “The NYSC provides an opportunity to achieve capacity building for economic development, to beef up our national security and defence infrastructure, as well as build the bridge of trust between the people and the armed forces. At this juncture, I reiterate my recommendation that the NYSC becomes an optional two-year programme with the first year spent on military training for our young people and the second year spent on agro-entrepreneurship.”
The cleric condemned the deployment of soldiers to attack and “unjustly kill” #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos last Tuesday, saying the Nigerian state has blood on its hands. Bakare said, “In the spirit of the new Nigerian culture, government must jettison the leadership model of the biblical Pharaoh and Rehoboam, who ruined their nations through obstinacy. Leaders must begin to listen to the people and show empathy to their plight. We need leaders like Nehemiah who quelled a protest, not by the force of arms, but by the moral authority of exemplary, sacrificial leadership.
“We need leaders like the late Nelson Mandela, who converted institutions of division and oppression to symbols of unity and empathy. We need sensitive leaders who are not ashamed to shed tears with the wounded and who can tell the broken, ‘Your pain is my pain, and I will do everything in my power to lift your burden.’” This was as he condemned the destruction of public infrastructure and looting by hoodlums, who took advantage of the protracted protests.
He said, “Rather than destroy, we must build; rather than revel in attacks on tangible and intangible infrastructure, from buses and police stations to palaces and state-owned cyber assets, we must protect our common patrimony. Instead of accepting a status quo that appears to leave us no choice but to go through the backdoor, we must build enduring edifices of open governance using such bricks as the Freedom of Information Act. Our conduct should at all times be moral, ethical, and legal, moderated by the reality that there are no shortcuts in nation-building.”