…Calls for closer monitoring
By Sunday Okobi
A Nigerian socio-cultural group with global reach, Brothers Across Nigeria (BAN), has commended the presidency and the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mohammed Adamu, on their prompt response to the menace of tactical police units on mufti.
There has been a nationwide outcry against police harassment, especially members of the police force, who do not wear the force uniforms. This outcry has led the group to write an open letter to President Buhari on September 13, 2020, “and we appreciate the authorities for acting swiftly to curb the menace.”
The letter which was widely published clearly told the president the menace that members of the public have been facing in the hands of non-uniformed tactical units of the police force.
In its letter, which was signed by the then President of the group, Dr. Lewis Atuife, the group had said: “We are aware that by virtue of the Police Act and Regulations made pursuant to the Act, there is the need for Crime Investigating Officers (CIO) to abstain from putting on regular uniforms of the force which enables them to blend into the the environment in which they operate. This they do in the course of carrying out investigations and apprehension of criminals. The need for this cannot be overemphasised.
“However, the crux of our appeal is with regards to men and officers of the Police Force who are not on any investigation duties putting on plain clothes and are fully armed. We find them constantly on the highways at checkpoints and also driving about in public. They operate in full public glare and cannot be distinguished from criminals who terrorise the populace.”
However, following the recent ban by the IG on mufti by tactical units of the police force, the new President of the group, Adeyemi Moshood, who is a lawyer, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the IG for being responsive to the cry of the people.
Speaking to journalists yesterday, Moshood also appreciated the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who publicly encouraged civil society groups that added their voices in bringing this to the attention of the government.
Osibanjo had recently said: ‘So, I will like to encourage civil society activists, young men and women, who bring this regularly, by the way, to the attention of the government and the police. And I think that activism is important because they have been able to bring a lot of these issues to the attention of the police and government and that is an important part of the process of the reform.’
The president of BAN, which recently concluded its national convention in Ughelli, Delta State, where new national officers were elected, also called for closer monitoring of the directives by the authorities to policemen, as similar instruction has been given before and it didn’t last long before the practice resurfaced again.