- AI, Falana task FG, security agencies on rights violations
Davidson Iriekpen in Lagos and Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Adamu Mohammed, thursday warned police personnel against violation of the rights of Nigerians in enforcing the restriction of movements imposed by federal and state governments to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Mohammed, in a statement by the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, said all police officers deployed in the enforcement of the orders on the restriction of movements must be professional, humane and show utmost respect for the citizenry.
The IG’s directive was issued against the backdrop of reports of alleged maltreatment of people suspected to be violating the restriction orders by the police and other security agents.
Human rights watchdog, Amnesty International (AI), and activist lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), also spoke on the alleged rights abuse by security agents with a plea to the federal government to ensure the protection of citizens’ dignity.
According to the statement issued yesterday in Abuja, the IG also directed that persons on essential duties, duly exempted from the restriction orders, should be accorded unfettered access to their places of duties.
He ordered Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs) and Commissioners of Police (CPs) to ensure robust anti-crime patrols around vulnerable targets such as markets, shops and medical facilities across the nation.
The statement said: “The Inspector-General of Police, M.A Adamu, has cautioned officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force currently deployed for the enforcement of the lockdown and social restriction orders to ensure that the rights of Nigerians are not infringed upon under any pretext.
“Also, persons on essential duties, duly exempted from the restriction orders, should be accorded due courtesies and unfettered access to and fro their places of duty.
“The IG notes that the global community is now in extra-ordinary times, with the lockdown taking its tolls on every component of our national life. Therefore, all police officers deployed in the enforcement of these restriction orders must be professional, humane and tactful and must show utmost respect to the citizenry.”
Adamu also quoted as directing command commissioners of police to immediately commence monitoring of police officers deployed in enforcement duties in their areas of responsibilities.
“The IG has equally charged zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs) across the nation to ensure adequate supervision of personnel under their watch, as well as due compliance with the standard operating procedure guiding this special task.
“The AIGs and CPs are also to ensure robust anti-crime patrols and surveillance around vulnerable targets such as medical facilities, shops, and markets, residential areas, financial institutions and Automated Teller Machines (ATM) points, amongst others so that criminals do not take undue advantage of the current COVID-19 challenge to perpetrate crimes against the citizenry.”
The IG thanked Nigerians for their resilience and voluntary compliance with the social restriction orders and cooperation with the police at all times and urged citizens to continue to observe all precautionary measures issued by relevant health authorities in order for the nation to defeat the pandemic.