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FG urged to do more on police reforms

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Following the directive made by the Acting President Yemi Osibanjo to overhaul the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police, stakeholders have urged the federal government to comprehensively overhaul the entire system.

According to them, the reform embarked upon by the inspector general of police appears like a knee-jerk reaction to the presidential directive in a way that questioned the genuineness of its purpose.

Access to Justice (A2Justice) and the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) in a joint statement endorsed by Director, A2Justice, Joseph Otteh and NOPRIN national coordinator, Okechukwu Nwanguma, insisted that the measures come too short, and do not go far enough of what is needed to reform SARS.

A2Justice and NOPRIN, therefore, called on the IGP to go back to the drawing board, and fashion a new, more embracing and inspiring set of reforms for SARS. “A set of measures more credible, purposeful and efficacious than the ones he has just released. In addition to this, A2Justice and NOPRIN urged the IGP to undertake similar but far-reaching measures to reform the police force as a whole, and not focus on SARS alone.

“The police force has been systematically degraded over the course of several decades, and is too broken, at this time, to offer services that meet the professional policing needs of Nigerians. Undertaking a holistic reform is needed to ensure that reforms of any Units within the police force stand a chance of succeeding. If the police force remains the way it is, the overhaul of the SARS Unit will largely be unfruitful and unsustainable over time,” they said, calling on the presidency to call out the Police Service Commission (PSC) as well and order its rejuvenation because it has been comatose.

Similarly, former deputy director general of the Nigerian Law School, Prof Ernest Ojukwu (SAN) has urged the federal government to do more on general police reforms.In a statement, the scholar urged the government not to ever turn down their speed on the reform process.

The implementation of reforms at the SARS is a good sign of good governance, he said adding that the response of the Federal government to a sensitive problem in the country is commendable.

Ojukwu stressed the importance of the Police and other law enforcement agencies, operating according to the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. This, he said will reduce the abuse of human rights and rule of law in the country.

In recommendation, Prof Ojukwu said that the re-christened FSARS must be engaged in massive education and re-orientation of its personnel to serve professionally. “Furthermore, law enforcement personnel who violate human rights should be treated as criminals under the Constitution and the law,” he emphasized.


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SARSYemi Osibanjo
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