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.

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