Monday, January 17, 2022
The Nigeria Police Force by sef adeola

The motto of Nigerian Police Force reads, “Police is your Friend”, unfortunately the meaning of a friend in this instance is somewhat menacing. Scores of Nigerians have lost their loved ones as a result of Nigeria Police Force extrajudicial killings while many have been denied justice.

A residents of Akowonjo Area of Lagos who simply want to be identified as Ruth said she was denied justice despite video evidence of how her landlord brutalised her. She said, it took the intervention of Dr. Gabriel Oyediji, the National Secretary of Association of Orphanages and Homes of Nigeria, before an arrest of a landlord in Akowonjo area of Lagos who brutalized his female tenant during the lockdown in April was initiated. The confrontation started when Ruth hung her clothes on a line in the compound and the landlord threw Ruth’s clothes on the ground. After several exchange of words, the landlord punched Ruth on her face and head then made several attempts to undress her. Some of the other tenants in the compound did a video recording while others attempted to get help for her. Eventually, a call was made to Afonka Police Station, Shasha and they were both arrested. But the landlord was immediately released, probably because of his influence in that environment, while Ruth was detained. Ruth’s neighbors were not pleased with the police action and therefore, reported the incidents to Area M command, where the commander asked Inspector Alihu to investigate the case. The investigating officer then arrested the landlord but was released 30minutes after.

According to a source who preferred anonymity, he said Ruth paid some amount of money as transport fare before the man was arrested. Still she was not pleased about the release of the landlord, without him paying her medical bills. She therefore demands justice from Dr. Oyediji who represented the case to the Area M Commander. When the Area commander saw the degree of the injury, he asked her to go for medical assessment. The assessment reveals that she had sub-dural hemorrhage (bleeding under the skull). The Area commander requested a full investigation of the case as the landlord was re-arrested.

Several times, Nigerians have rushed to the social media to demand justice for the extrajudicial killings of their loved ones by the Nigeria Police Force. Numbers of young and promising youth have been sent to their early grave through the actions of those who are saddled with the responsibilities to safeguard lives and property. Nigerian youths like 35-year-old Kolade Johnson, 18-year-old girl Hadiyat Sikiru, 28-year-old Ademola Moshood, National Youth Service corps (NYSC) member, Linda Igwetu and several others who escaped the outcry of social media have been killed by extrajudicial activities of the Nigeria Police Force.

Recently, some youths in Iyana-Oworo took to the the streets to demand justice for 16-year-old girl, Tina Ezekwe who was killed by an unprofessional policeman in the Iyana-Oworo area of Lagos, on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. The Policemen, attached to Bariga Police Division were said to have mounted a barricade on the road that linked Third Mainland Bridge. But trouble started when a white van driver gave them ₦100.00 instead of the requested ₦200. 00. Out of annoyance, the driver removed the barricade and one of the policemen shot him. Though he survived the gunshot, but the incident resulted into an uprising from Iyana- Oworo residents. While trying to chase the roaring residents into their homes, one of the policemen released two bullets and Tina Ezekwe was killed. However, Tina did not die immediately she was rushed to the hospital and died two days later.

lagos news today
The Police is your friend joor! by sef adeola

The protest staged on the streets of Iyana-Oworo and on social media, made the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, to order an in-depth investigation into the circumstances surrounding Tina’s death. Subsequently, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, on Friday made it known that the two police officers suspected to have carried out the shooting have been arrested and subjected to internal disciplinary proceedings, adding that if they were found culpable, they would be prosecuted. In his statement, Elkana said the investigation revealed that the conduct of the police officers fell short of professional standards.

He said, “Recall that on May 29, 2020, the State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, ordered an in-depth investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Tina Ezekwe in the Iyana-Oworo area of Lagos State. Investigation so far revealed that the conduct of the two police officers, ASP Theophilus Otobo and Inspector Oguntoba Olamigoke, who were linked to the incident, fell short of professional standards. In view of this, the command has commenced internal disciplinary proceedings against the two officers. While the ASP has been served an official query in line with the provisions of the public service rules, Inspector Oguntoba Olamigoke is undergoing an orderly-room trial at the state command provost’s office.”

A legal practitioner and civil rights activist, Okon Ubong said Nigeria Police Force extrajudicial killings especially the death of Tina has no justification under the law, even the Police Force Order 237 cannot accommodate such radicalism. He cited Section 3(e) of Police Force Order 237 which permits police officers to shoot suspects and detainees who attempt to escape or avoid arrest.

Section 3 (e) “arrest a person who takes to flight in order to avoid arrest, provided the offence is such that the accused may be punished with 7years imprisonment or more”.

Okon said; “However, the Police High Command on Thursday, October 4, 2019, launched a revised Force Order 237 that regulates the police rules of engagement. The revised document would adopt the use of Taser and stun guns in place of conventional live bullets for low-risk operations”.

He quoted the Inspector General of Police, Adamu Mohammed “it is in furtherance to this that I initiated actions towards the acquisition and deployment of electro-muscular disruption technology-based weaponry, which is commonly known as Taser or stun guns for low-risk police operations. This is with the intention of addressing public concerns on mis-use of firearms by the Police with its attendant consequences on lives and effect on the attainment of our community policing vision”.

Okon concluded by saying that if the Inspector General of Police has made an alternative provision of weapons that could be used to arrest fleeing suspects why can’t the police officers use them. So there is no justification of any sort, the police officers should be prosecuted and punished severely to serve as lesson for other kill at will police officers.

Nigeria Police Force should cease the killings of Nigerians at the slightest provocation. The special training sessions that are being organized for the special units of the Police which include the Police Mobile Force, Special Forces, Counter-terrorism Unit, Anti-Robbery Squads and the criminal investigation operatives, should be effectively put into use. The Police Service Commission, the Human Rights Commission, the federal attorney general’s office, the courts, and other state and federal officials have to take collective responsibility for making the police more accountable and more effective. They need to ensure that complaints are followed up and abuse is punished in order to change this culture of extrajudicial killings.

By Ife Adewole

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