RULAAC, others urge incoming President to sanitise police force
Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), human rights bodies and the media have called on the next government to sanitise the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) for better service to the country.
They demanded urgent steps to strengthen police external accountability mechanisms, especially the Police Service Commission (PSC), to curb impunity in the force.
During RULAAC’s end-of-year briefing in Lagos, yesterday, the Executive Director, Okechukwu Nwanguma, noted that the police force, in a democratic society, should not be a law unto itself.
“It should uphold the rule of law, which embodies the values of human dignity rather than the wishes of the powerful leader or political party. Effective external accountability processes may make the police more publicly accountable,” he added.
The briefing was to highlight some of the major human rights and security issues that featured prominently and shaped the human rights landscape of the country in 2022, as the year runs out.
RULAAC also called for adequate training, provision of necessary equipment and motivation of police to prepare them for the 2023 general elections in the first quarter of next year.
“The police are the lead security agency in election security. They will have a key role to play in providing security for election personnel and materials, political party agents, voters, election monitors and other stakeholders in elections. Security is key to the integrity of the electoral process and the credibility of electoral outcomes,” it stated.
At the briefing, Ohams Graham of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) wrote off the Anti-Kidnapping Unit (AKU) of Imo State Police Command, codenamed Tiger Base.
He alleged that officers of Tiger Base, led by Mr Oladimeji Odeyeyiwa, a Superintendent of Police (SUPOL), were so corrupt, explaining that they could arrest innocent citizens on the streets and brand them criminals, just to extort them.
According to him, Tiger Base has been reduced to a money-spinner by some police officers. He called on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to probe the activities of the unit.
Ebubeagu, the state’s security outfit, he added, is now in conflict with the residents and even the military, due to its alleged atrocities.
Jude Igbinoi of ThisDay newspapers asserted that the reportedly disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), for which youths revolted in 2020, “is still alive.”
He noted that police brutality now knows no man, as even magistrates and lawyers could be manhandled.
Human rights defenders are now direct targets of police impunity, he said, cautioning activists to devise ingenious ways to do their jobs without running into trouble.
In the coming year, he advised RULAAC to organise town halls and invite victims of police abuse to testify in public.