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NOPRIN tasks citizens to report police brutality, abuse

By Ngozi Egenuka
30 November 2022   |   3:14 am
National Coordinator, Network of Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN Foundation), Emmanuel Ikule, has called on citizens to report cases of police brutality to serve as a deterrent, promote accountability and reform the force.

[file] Police officers arrest a protestor during a demonstration against police brutality, at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos on February 13, 2021. – Nigerian police arrested a small group of protesters in Lagos after they tried to hold a rally demanding justice for victims of a deadly shooting during demonstrations last year. Activists had called for new protests after a judicial panel authorised the reopening of the city’s giant Lekki tollgate, where security forces shot at protesters in October (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

National Coordinator, Network of Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN Foundation), Emmanuel Ikule, has called on citizens to report cases of police brutality to serve as a deterrent, promote accountability and reform the force.

   
Lamenting that people find it difficult to speak out because recounting their experiences reopens old wounds they wish to have healed, he emphasised the importance of justice to serve as a warning to offending officers.
   
Ikule spoke at a public tribunal on police abuses in Nigeria, South West Zone, organised by NOPRIN, National Human Right Commission (NHRC) and Police Service Commission in Lagos. 
 
He noted that there had been consistent complaints of brutality, abuse, extortion and extra judicial killings over the years around the country.
According to him, this year they have had the public tribunal in four political zones.
 
Identifying gaps in training, Ikule called on the force to put in more efforts towards training officers and not just use the Training of Trainers (TOT) method, where selected officers are trained, who would in turn train others, which has not yielded the much desired result.
   
He said: “Access to justice is like a scarce resource in the country. A lot of people look for it, a lot of people don’t get it. Not speaking out makes the officers to consistently go on with the culture of torture and impunity. The public tribunal is to give people an opportunity to voice out their experiences and we ensure that access to justice is a reality.” 
   
Speaking, coordinator, National Human Rights Commission, Lucas Koyejo, said the public tribunal was  one of the vehicles the Commission  uses to ensure that there is a closure for such cases that involve victims of human rights violation, especially by government functionaries.
   
He noted that the issue of poor police welfare is not an excuse for the force to maltreat citizens.  
   
Recounting his experience,  an Okada rider, Cyprian Enyam, said he stopped at Sabo market to buy a traditional smoked spiced meat (Suya) on February 16, 2022 at about 8:00p.m. when five men, wearing mufti, asked him to come down from his motorcycle. 
   
When he refused, Enyam alleged that they started hitting him, but the police officer that led the team later came out and asked them to stop hitting him, but it was already late as he fell down and was unconscious. 
 
“After this they took my bike. Passers-by told them that since they had killed me they should take my body along. They took me and dropped me in a bush at Locus, Sagamu at about 12:30 a.m., when I regained strength and came out of the bush, I was told by some guys there that it was the police that dropped me in the bush. The men then took me to Ikorodu General hospital.”