Curbing Police Brutality

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Curbing Police Brutality

The Nigeria Police came into being in the year 1930, and presently deserves its legal authority from section 194 of the 1979 constitution.

Its roles include enforcement of the law, protection of lives and property as well as the maintenance of internal peace and security.

Since the era of Military rule, the police have imbibed draconian tactics in their operations, they raid houses, bus stops and relaxation joints, shooting
indiscriminately lock up, torture and frame innocent people as well as engage in extra judicial killings.

In a report by the Civil Liberties Organization, thirty cases of culpable homicide arising from the reckless use of firearms by the police occurred in 2004.

Between August 2015 and February 2016, the Inter-society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, the Center for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy and the Forum for Justice, jointly estimated that over 155  Nigerians were killed extra judicially by the police, and about 500 others were maimed or detained without trial.

These violations and abuses are unusual of what is usually obtained in democracy unlike what is obtained in the Western World.

For instance, in Australia, every police shooting is subject to a mandatory coroner’s inquest.

As a result of stringent engagement rules in Denmark, no life has been lost to police shooting for some time now.

Also in Japan, the United Kingdom and Germany, police often go throughout a whole year without a shooting.

To curb the orientation that officers can get away with crime in the course of duty, the police must be reformed to be accountable.

With forensics analysis, Commissioners of Police should institute a process to monitor the use of official firearms.

Also, cases of abuse and illegal detentions should be investigated and culprits brought to face the wrath of the law.

Officers should be equipped with gadgets to record their interactions with the public, while the use of arms in civil cases should be
stopped.

The government must stand up to its responsibility of protecting the life of its citizens in accordance with the constitution.

The United Nations Special Repertoire on Extra-judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, has reiterated the importance of investigations by stating that it is the obligation of governments to carry out exhaustive and impartial investigations into allegations of violations of the right to life, to identify, bring to justice and punish the perpetrators, to grant compensation to the victims or their families and to take effective measures to avoid future recurrence of such violations, Nigeria should not be an exception to this universal principle.

Fawzeeyah Kasheem

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