Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Tuesday, called on the Federal Government to allow the independence of the Police Service Commission and the Nigeria Police Force so that they can effectively carry out their constitutional mandates.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement also sought that the offices of the police service commission be set up in all the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory for the purposes of investigating the legality or otherwise of use of weapons by policemen against citizens.
The group’s statement followed the extrajudicial killing of a Lagos-based lawyer, Bolanle Raheem by ASP Drambi Vandhi on Christmas Day and similar killing of another Lagosian, Gafaru Buraimoh by policemen attached to the notorious Ajiwe Police Station on December 7, 2022 and hundreds of other cases that never made it to the popular news media.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The Federal Government needs to strengthen the Police Service Commission, build up the effective and efficient manpower to power the commission’s mandates which if adequately implemented and enforced by the right kind of science-based, evidence-driven investigations of policing misbehaviour and crimes such as extrajudicial killings of civilans, then the cases of police brutality will be checked and perpetrators punished severely in line with the extant laws on murder.
“In the wake of the extra legal killing of the Lagos pregnant lawyer on Christmas day, virtually everyone has spoken out in condemnation but structurally, both the Nigeria Police Force and the Police Service Commission are compromised and not independent in terms of implementation of their mandates and the police is so indiscipline to a point that 70% of the operatives are unaware of the existence of the Nigerian Police Act of 2020 which contains a plethora of provisions that specify human rights of citizens in their encounter with the police.
“The government needs to take a bolder step to set up offices of Police Service Commission in all the states and set up functional ballistic laboratory for the purposes of investigating the legality or otherwise of police use of weapons against citizens including even outlaws and criminals as is done in the UK which has even an entirely independent body of investigators that analyzes the use to which police operatives have put their weapons in the course of their functions of law enforcement.
“Nigeria needs state police that is not controlled by the state governors but by an entirely independent body of governors composed of statesmen and women selected from the 36 states of the Federation and to work closely with the national policing institution that will be in charge of investigating bigger crimes in all parts of Nigeria as is applicable in the USA with FBI and the state Police but the National Assembly having Oversight responsibility.
“The #EndSARS panels succeeded minimally by way of recommending compensation in monetary terms but there are dozens of killers in police uniforms that are still working till date. The country needs to bring about sanity in the affairs of the policing institution to bring about the stamping out of the use of extra judicial killings by the police.”
January 3, 2023
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA.