By Ed Malik, A | October 18, 2022
Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the spate of violent attacks targeting mostly Police operatives by insurgents from all parts of the country, just as the group called on the Inspector General of Police Usman Alkali Baba to roll out strategies for practical revitalization of the moribund police community relations committee to bridge the gulf between police and the policed.
HURIWA said it is concerned by the ascendancy of people’s distrust and hatred for the average police operative in Nigeria by the civil populace, saying it is mind-boggling development and therefore, demands that quick win steps are taken to bring contain and wipe out the high dose of cynicism against the Police.
Besides, HURIWA said there is no enough reasons to justify the renewed targeting of armed policemen in their line of duty, but stressed however, that the inability of the police hierarchy at both the national and sub national levels to enforce may have emboldened the attackers to carry on their nefarious activities against them and called for strong deterrent sanctions against indicted officers who still carry out extra-judicial killing of suspects in the police custody. .
The Rights group said it is in the interest of the police as an institution that extrajudicial killings are stamped out extrajudicial killings and rid the system of rogue police operatives who have been tried for mass murders and sanctioned judicially in very transparent court sessions.
“The belief that citizens can just be executed like chickens inside police cells and there is no accountability opens the policing institution up for bottled up angst which have no exploded into full blown ‘civil war against police operatives’ which must be brought to a quick end immediately”, said
HURIWA blamed the police human rights desk for the widening chasm between the police and people, saying that their inefficient and ineffective communication procedures have impugned the ability of the police institution to achieve any level of success in crime prevention and control hinged on robust and constructive dialogues between police and the populace.
Going forward, HURIWA recommends the setting up of a full-fledged human rights department in the Nigeria police force headed by a well-trained human rights compliant senior officer in the rank of deputy inspector general of police. Such a department must well-funded with even her own forensic laboratories to undertake investigations in cases of extrajudicial killings by the police.”
The HURIWA national coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko affirmed that: “We have watched with sadness, as the coordinated killings of men and women in police uniform has spiked all across the Country as if some gunmen have declared a war against the police. The truth is that police lives matter just as much as Nigerian lives matter.”
“What should be done is to roll out concrete programmes of dialogues and active partnership between the civil society and the Police because there is widespread distrust of the police of Nigeria by a large percentage of Nigerians. These police operatives being slaughtered are our sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. There is the urgency of the now for effective non-kinetic mechanisms by the Police IGP and his commissioners all over Nigeria.”
HURIWA argued too that: “Nigeria Police should quickly adopt technology for combating crimes especially in the many vast expensive landed areas in Nigeria that are virtually unpoliced and ungoverned. The Police must never carry out a revenge mission to communities whereby their officers are attacked because in most cases those who attack the Police are often not from those communities since violence entrepreneurs known as unknown gunmen are rapidly mobile and are not known to operate from particular locations. HURIWA challenged yhe police to reinvigorate its intelligence generating mechanisms so terrorists, insurgents, are picked up before they inflict mortal damage on Nigeria.”
Citing Part 3, section 214(1) of the 1999 constitution which says-: “There shall be a police force for Nigeria, which shall be known as the Nigeria Police Force, and subject to the provisions of this section no other police force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof.
2) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution
(a) the Nigeria Police Force shall be organized and administered in accordance with such provisions as may be prescribed by an act of the National Assembly;
(b) the members of the Nigeria Police shall have such powers and duties as maybe conferred upon them by law;
(c) the National Assembly may make provisions for branches of the Nigeria Police Force forming part of the armed forces of the Federation or for the protection of harbours, waterways, railways and air fields. HURIWA has therefore canvassed greater transparency and accountability in the funding and operations of the police just as there is the need for a constitutional alteration to create state police not under the command and control of the governors but under the control of an independent police accountability commission to be created away from the Police Service Commission.