Stakeholders, groups seek end of police brutality, extortion in South East
Concerned stakeholders and groups in Imo State, yesterday, called for collaboration to end extortions, brutality and human rights abuses of road users by the police and other security officers in the South East.
The stakeholders, including law enforcement agents, civil society groups, road transport workers, media practitioners establishment, state actors and other interest groups, made the call at a one-day workshop organised by Youth and Students Advocates for Development Initiative (YSAD) in Owerri.
Specifically, Dennis Nneji of the National Union of Roads Transport Workers (NURTW), Justice Opara (National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Rev. Fr. God’swill Agbogwa, Ben Nwokafor, Head, Imo State Command, National Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Stanley Uche of the Youth Movement for Good Governance and a journalist, Steve Uzoechi, among others attended the workshop.
They identified lack of commitment on the part of law enforcement agencies to penalise erring members, inadequate enforcement of citizens’ rights, faulty relationship between citizens and law enforcement agencies and inadequate provision for the welfare and operational needs of the police, as major factors fuelling the menace.
The stakeholders suggested periodic training and retraining of police officers, creation of an independent and neutral agency to checkmate excesses of police officers and employment of qualified and competent persons into the police force.
They also stressed the need for orientation of members of the public and intensify awareness on societal norms and a good attitude, adding that until all citizens do what is right, the situation would continue to worsen.
On his part, Chief Executive Officer of YSAD, Obinna Nwagbara, said the essence of the event was to bring the stakeholders together to evaluate and interrogate some of these absurdities with a view to bringing them to an end and restoring sanity on our roads and streets.
He lamented the situation in which checkpoints mounted for the security of commuters have been used largely to extort motorists, intimidate road users and harass law-abiding citizens.
“There have been media reports of police patrol vans extorting money from fun seekers in bars and clubs during weekends. We have read multiple reports of individuals being hounded and detained when they fail to ‘settle’ officers on the spot.
“Our objective is to engender effective engagement that would ensure that road users play by the rules, while law enforcement agents do their job with professionalism devoid of corrupt tendencies and abuse of citizens’ rights,” he stated.