Sunday Ehigiator writes on the recent effort of the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria to chronicle cases centered on violation of human rights by Nigerian security agencies
The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) Foundation has presented to the public its latest book titled ‘Groaning In Pains; The Effect of Bad Policing on Nigeria’, in which it factually profiled a number of cases centered on violation of human rights by Nigerian security agencies.
At the launch which was recently held in Lagos, the foundation said the publication enjoyed support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), and it’s aimed at “promoting police accountability and respect for human rights and enhancing access to justice for victims through periodic state by state documentation and publicising of cases”.
According to the Chairperson, Coordinating Committee, NOPRIN Foundation, Saviour Akpan, “in 1999, Nigeria returned to constitutional democracy after decades of military
rule, expectations of citizens were that there is going to be a serious departure and paradigm shift in the policing styles of the nation’s police
force which its leadership has admitted to be a force that has been alienated from the civil populace it supposed to serve due to its military authoritarianism.
“After the phasing out of ‘Operation Fire for Fire’ and the Nigeria Police Force adopted an operational slogan ‘To Police with Integrity’, policing citizens’ rights in Nigeria by the Nigeria police force as the gatekeeper to the criminal justice system remains a nightmare two decades Since the return to democracy that was greeted with great expectations.
“Government’s effort in reassuring the citizenry that there is hope of a better policing of their constitutionally guaranteed human rights in 2005 during the extrajudicial murder of the six Igbo Traders (Apo Six) unfortunately was short lived; Nigerians across the country continue to be abused by the very people who are supposed to protect them.
“Also, with government’s attitude towards not making the report of such Commission of
Inquiry public and the persistent lack of feedback from the justice system, to reassure the public of actions taken to serve as deterrent to further violations of citizens’ rights with impunity by states agency like the police, it became necessary for Civil Society Organisations to continue shouting and calling out the unprofessional policing styles and conduct of the police as an organisation and that of its officers and men respectively.”
Speaking about thebook, the National Coordinator, NOPRIN, Ikule Emmanuel, said “the project was structured in such a way to have a daily monitoring of news reports on rights violations of citizens in Nigeria as may be reported by the mainstream and social medium with verifiable facts and further amplify same towards making the perpetrators to understanding that era of impunity is over.
“Doing this has helped in not only reducing such atrocities but has help in putting the system undercheck by building citizens resilience to lawfully resist impunity.
“With the effective use of social media platform which has made injustices meted by the police to the citizens a virile information across the globe coupled with reported actions taken by the authorities to address such incidences, one is proud to say that in Nigeria there is hope.”
He added that though several efforts have been made to bring to justice perpetrators of different forms of inhuman and or degrading treatments of the citizens especially within the police force, “much is still desired in terms of adequate welfare for the police officers so as to reduce the degree and quantum of aggression transferred by these policemen, especially the ranks and file on the innocent members”.
The foundation also applauded the media on its role in shedding light on violations of human rights committed by law enforcement agents, and appeal for their continuous reportage of such misdeed till its nipped on the board.