Nigeria moves to curb misconduct in law enforcement


LAGOS: Nigeria will overhaul its crime-fighting machinery and cut misconduct in law enforcement by some police units, Police Inspector General Mohammed Adamu has said a statement.
The police chief has banned personnel of special squads, including the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), the Special Tactical Squad (STS), Intelligence Response Team (IRT), and other tactical squads, from routine patrols across the country.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Adamu said the affected squads, with no charge of routine patrols, will also not be allowed for other conventional low-risk duties, such as stop-and-search, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks and traffic checks.
According to the statement, the banning “came against the backdrop of findings by the leadership of the Force that a few personnel of the tactical squads” hide under mufti to “perpetrate all forms of illegality.”
Recent months have seen a series of reports on police misconduct like torture, ill-treatment and extrajudicial execution, which caused outrage among the public.
In late July, the Nigerian police said a statement it had arrested three police officers and one alleged civilian accomplice for the “dehumanizing treatment” and harassment of a woman in the southwest city of Ibadan.
According to local media on Monday, a young man was allegedly shot by men suspected to members of the FSARS in front of a hotel in the southern state of Delta.
A video of the incident going viral on social media shows the young man, held by a sympathizer, appeared unconscious with blood dripping from the sides of his head.
A woman was seen lying on the floor close to a shattered windscreen of a silver saloon car, while youths were seen chasing the police vehicle and a white SUV, allegedly being driven by one of the officers.
The incidents have triggered widespread condemnation, including that from Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
According to local daily, The Nation, on Monday, Osinbajo told reporters that he backs the decision of Adamu to ban routine patrol by the FSARS and other tactical squads.
Osinbajo said he is concerned and angry that young men and women are in some cases maimed or killed by members of the police.
He said “a few bad eggs” in the police are causing the problems, urging the police to stick to their mandates. According to the latest police statement, members of the special squads are to concentrate on and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping, and other violent crimes when the need arises. Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege also expressed dismay over the alleged atrocious activities of the police in Delta.
He expressed concern over alleged cases of extrajudicial killings and harassment of defenseless citizens by a few police personnel, including the alleged shooting of a man by FSARS operatives in his constituency in Ughelli for refusing to allow the operatives to search his phone.
Omo-Agege urged comprehensive reforms and overhaul of security units in the country, fishing out the culprits for prosecution to serve as a deterrent to others.–Agencies