There have been various cases of harassment by members of the Nigerian police and other security agencies. An average Nigerian youth who is carrying a laptop or using a sophisticated smartphone is usually a soft target these days. This issue has generated a lot of discussion within the civil society, leading to online protests at various times. The #EndSARS movement remains fresh in our minds when issues like these are discussed.
While the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and its instruments attempt to rid the society of fraudulent acts, there are indications that they may be over-stretching their boundaries. In some instances, citizens have lamented the case of bullying by members of the NPF who use their powers to extort money from them. From a holistic angle, it is evident that there is a huge gap in knowledge and awareness when it comes to developing trends. This is particularly related to emerging technologies and how the younger generation is taking advantage of its benefits.
Getting the Police in Tune With Developing Trends
The possibility of foul play by participants in the ecosystem of emerging technologies cannot be ruled out. However, the government and its security instruments must understand the fundamentals of this development. That is the only way that they can constructively engage with participants within this ecosystem without going off tangent with their activities.
An education and awareness program was organized by the University of Lagos chapter of Believers’ LoveWorld (Christ Embassy). The event had as a resource person, the Head of User Growth and Education at KuBitX, Joseph Samuel. According to Samuel, the basis of the program was to reachout to officers and men of the Nigerian police on issues bothering around the subject matter.
Samuel notes that much focus was in helping the participating personnel to understand the need of being in tune with technological trends. This will help them in the areas of relating with the public and avoid most of the unnecessary encounters and backlash that the force is currently receiving.
Nowadays , it’s absolutely possible to have an online mall (Amazon), online cinema (Netflix), etc. The police force needs to understand this new trend and know online business does not only belong to yahoo boys.
All Hands Need to be On Deck
In addition to building a reputable image for the NPF, the officers and men must be in tune with the current trend, especially in the areas of alternative investment systems. This, he says is the only way that they can work efficiently and avoid the numerous cases of harassment based on prejudice.
“These guys need to know that young Nigerians can legitimately make money from home and #Bitcoin is not a ponzi, “ says Samuel.
The program was interactive and a series of questions were asked by the participants, of which Samuel took his time to respond to. However, due to time limitations, the discussion was not exhaustive. Apparently, it will continue as a going concern as there is a continuous influx of young Nigerians into the industry of emerging technologies. This is giving rise to an increased number of people who work from remote locations and may not be able to provide the kind of traditional evidence required by men of the NPF on the spot.
A recognition of the above situation will help the NPF to devise a more appropriate means of carrying out investigations and fighting the menace of online crimes. One of the major points that Samuel attempted to drive home was the fact that Bitcoin is simply another form of money. It is not a tool for evil or Ponzi, and many young Nigerians today accept bitcoin as a means of payment for remote jobs.
In conclusion, Samuel noted that it is important for stakeholders in the industry to take up the responsibility to educate the police force. This, he believes will ensure that the number of young entrepreneurs getting harassed by the police for doing legitimate internet business will be curtailed.