NSCDC Officer’s death: HURIWA calls for total overhaul of policing

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A call has gone to Federal Government; the National Assembly and Stakeholders in the organized civil society community to ensure that the groundswell of professional indiscipline in the police force is holistically addressed just as the Rights group has advocated prosecution for murder of all police operatives found to have committed extra-legal killings of Nigerians in conflict with the law.

Making the call is the prominent non-governmental and pro-democracy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) which specifically condemned the alleged killing by police operatives of a senior officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Mr. Ogah Jumbo during an altercation in Nyanya, near Abuja over alleged traffic offence by the late Mr. Jumbo.

The Rights group specifically affirmed that the police operatives who were responsible for this gruesome murder must be arrested and prosecuted for murder. Besides, HURIWA regretted that cases of professional indiscipline has become worrisome within the police force even as the practices of extralegal killings of suspects in Police custodies have become a menace threatening the corporate image of Nigeria which has attracted condemnation from world leaders including the United States of America. HURIWA stated that the poor human rights scorecard of Nigeria under the current dispensation as recorded by the United States of America goes to show that the state of professional indiscipline of the security forces and especially the operatives and officers of the Nigerian police force has reached an unprecedented global dimension requiring surgical overhaul of the modus operandi of the policing institution in the Country. HURIWA said the climate of impunity and lawlessness that pervade the nation’s security forces and especially the police force are capable of destroying constitutional democracy and imperil the respect to the fundamental rights of Nigerians as provided for by the legal frameworks and the grundnorm. 

In a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said the Nigeria police force has reached a stage whereby Nigerian state must reform and purge it of all traces and entrenched criminal tendencies of impunity or there would be widespread violence targeting operatives of the policing institution from Nigerians who have suffered cocktails of intimidations, harassments, killings and arbitrary arrests by the police. HURIWA asserted that the police has almost constituted itself into an institution whose leadership are above the law just as the Rights expressed regret that the Nigeria Police force as currently administered lacks transparency and accountability.

HURIWA stated thus: “Only few hours back, the United States Department of State released what it termed evidence of impunity in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Nigerian government. The State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, in its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, said that Nigeria under Buhari, had made little progress in efforts to limit corruption in its public service.”

HURIWA recalled that: “The US Congress makes it mandatory for the executive to produce a report on the state of human rights worldwide every year. The report added that “Although the law provides criminal penalties for conviction of official corruption, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity.

HURIWA backed the USA in unambiguously stating the verifiable allegations that “There were several reports the government or its agents committed arbitrary and unlawful killings. The national police, army, and other security services used lethal and excessive force to disperse protesters and apprehend criminals and suspects and committed other extrajudicial killings.”

HURIWA Stated that it is factual that: “Authorities generally did not hold police, military, or other security force personnel accountable for the use of excessive or deadly force or for the deaths of persons in custody. State and federal panels of inquiry investigating suspicious deaths generally did not make their findings public.”

The Rights group further supported the United States of America for stating the obvious when the US state department in the current global human rights reports averred as followed on Nigeria: “In August 2017 the acting president convened a civilian-led presidential investigative panel to review compliance of the armed forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement, and the panel submitted its findings in February. As of November, no portions of the report had been made public. As of September there were no reports of the federal government further investigating or holding individuals accountable for the 2015 killing and subsequent mass burial of members of the Shia group, Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), and other civilians by Nigerian Army (NA) forces in Zaria, Kaduna State.’”

HURIWA also recalled that the USA’s report disclosed that the 2016 nonbinding report of the Kaduna State government’s judicial commission, which found that the Nigerian Army (NA) used “excessive and disproportionate” force during the 2015 altercations in which 348 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and one soldier died.

HURIWA has therefore asked the Federal government to immediately arrest and prosecute the police men who gruesomely murdered Mr. Ogah Jumbo of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps just as the Rights group calls for forensic audits of all detention facilities to identify security forces involved in extra judicial killings. HURIWA said that time is of the essence and that time is running out for Nigeria to embark on holistic reformation and overhaul of the Nigeria Police force which stinks of bribery; corruption and lawlessness. 

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