Paul Obi in Abuja
Inspector General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, on Tuesday gave reasons why the Nigerian military took the front role from the police in confronting internal crises in the country.
He debunked claims by some international rights groups, particularly, Amnesty International, alleging rights violations by security agencies engaging in the management of internal crises in the country.
Idris said: “The military was at the forefront of battle against resource-based and sectarian insurgency in the country rather than the Police, is the primary institution saddled with responsibility of dealing with internal security, because the Police had no sophisticated weapons to match those being used by insurgents.”
His made this known during a keynote address he presented on Tuesday in Abuja at a seminar with the theme: ‘Counter Insurgency, Human Rights and Good Governance in the context of Nigeria Situation’ organised by a civil society organisation under the aegis of Global Amnesty Watch, GAW.
“The police being the primary institution saddled with the responsibility of internal security had much to contend with in the rising wave of resource-based and sectarian insurgency hence, the military had to step in to assist as the police had no sophisticated weapons to match the ones used by the insurgents,” he stressed.
Idris further stated: “Over the years, the police along with the military and other paramilitary agencies have continued to engage the insurgents with a view to subdue them and in all the operations, the rules of engagement are being applied in line with the internal best practices.
“In the course of the counter insurgency operations by the security forces, there has been no intent or design to abuse the fundamental human rights of either the insurgents nor that of civilian populace.
“However, during some raids on insurgents hideouts, it was possible that some innocent ones were arrested along with the culprits but usually, screening and investigations are being carried out and subsequently those considered innocent were immediately released,” he added.
“It is therefore unfortunate that the above situation is being misunderstood and being taken to mean intentional actions aimed at violating the fundamental rights of the people by the human rights observers, “he said, adding that “the police may say that human rights violations are myth rather than reality.”
Country Representatives of Global Amnesty Watch, Mrs Helen Adesola, charged stakeholders security and community not to assess situations in manners that do not place terrorists and other killers at disadvantage while criminalising security agencies.
She said: “In the early years of the current wave of religious and extremism driven terrorism, the tendency was for these evil acts to be committed in predominantly Islamic countries or persons from these places.
“It was a question of time before the poison was exported to Nigeria and other countries with mixed religious populations,” Adesola said.