The exploits of Samuel Peters “The Nigeria Nightmare”, a member of the Nigeria Police and former World Boxing Council {WBC} heavy weight champion of the world, KiKelomo Ajayi, former skipper of Nigeria Super Falcons, and a member of the Nigeria police, Chioma Ajunwa, and late Sunday Bada, have ignited a feeling of what sports can do to embellish the image of the Nigeria

The police image in Nigeria in respective of the innovations going on under the Inspector General of Police Mohammed D. Abubakar is still in dire need of respectability and has to be improved upon. One way to do it is through sports. 

Of the 35 Nigeria athletes that represented the country at the Nigeria Ghana athletics competition in 1958, 15 were policemen. The Nigeria police team (Police Machine team) were finalists in 1962. Adeleye Samuel (a police officer), was the captain of the Nigeria contingent to the First All Africa Games held in darker Senegal in 1963. He later rose in sporting eminence to become the chairman of the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control(NBBC). 

Sunday Oyarekhua, now a retired police officer, was a member of the Green Eagles and the famous all Africa Games gold medal winning team in 1973 at the national stadium Lagos. At Kaduna’77 and the First Ecowas Games in ’77 held in Lagos, Sergeant Ogwana, Nnema Udo and Nwabude won medals.

At the ’79 National Sport Festival, Azuh won a gold medal each in the 800 and 1,500 meters, while Inspector C. Okonkwo grabbed the gold medal in the weight–lifting event and was invited for the pre Olympic trials.

Nigeria police sportsmen and women have followed these excellent performances with David Izonritei (now a USA based professional boxer winning a silver medal in an Olympics boxing tournament. Sunday Bada, former head of technical department of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), once dominated the 400 meters race in Africa. He was a world indoor champion in 400 meters.

Sunday Bada capped it up by winning a silver medal in the 4 x400 meters relay event at Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. The biggest glory brought to Nigeria in sports by the police remain, the spectacular performance of Chioma Ajunwa at the Atlanta’96 Olympic Games and the achievement of Samuel Peters.

Chioma Ajunwa, it will be recalled, won a gold medal in the Atlanta ’96 Olympics long jump event. A feat that made her the first ever Africa woman to win an Olympic gold medal in that event and an entry into the Guinness book of records. The import of this chronology of achievements of the police in sports is to show how relevant the police have been in positively influencing the image of Nigeria through sports.

That policemen and women had to stay in camp, obey camp rules, display a spirit of discipline, teamwork and dedication for positive results, runs counter to that image that they should not be trusted and if possible avoided.

Adeleye’s captainship to the first all Africa Games in Dakar ’63 and Sunday Bada’s unmatched record as a famous world 400 meters runner and a major think-tank in Nigeria athletics circle, is a proof of confidence in the police. Chioma Ajunwa is a role model by the police to positively influence the opinion of the youths and the growing number of adults in sports. Presently, the reverse is the case. She is seen as a mere sports person and not necessary as a member of the Nigeria Police. The Inspector General of Police, Solomon E. Arase has included sports in his reform agenda.

By the nature of their training, police personnel are enjoined to always display discipline. As long as discipline remains the watchword of sports, the police will continue to be relevant. Julius Aghahowa ex-super Eagles hitman was once a member of Police Machine Team.

Nigeria police is working towards producing more players for the U-21, U-23 and the Super Eagles to compliment the efforts of Kikelomo Ajayi and others hoping that in future, such products will star in the English Premiership, Spanish La Liga, French championnet,German Bundesliga or Italian Serie A.