The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) has said that the many excesses of the operatives of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has continued unabated because the Police is still organized and regulated with an outdated colonial Police Act which has seen no comprehensive review since it was promulgated in 1934.
Speaking in press conference in Lagos yesterday, the National Coordinator of NOPRIN, Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma disclosed that Nigeria, at independence, inherited the institutions and culture of the colonial Police.
Nwanguma added that nearly two decades of uninterrupted military dictatorship cemented the colonial culture of violence, repression and corruption regretting that successive administrations under the current democratic dispensation have paid mere lip service to Police reform by setting up successive committees on Police reforms but fail to implement the far reaching recommendations in the reports of the various government committees as well as civil society panel on Police reform.
He however revealed that a lot of the recommendations in the Police reform reports was what formed part of the provisions of the Police Reform Bill before the National Assembly.
While commending the Senate for passing the Police Reform Bill on its floor recently, he said, “We call on the House of Representatives to fast track consideration of the Police Reform Bill and quickly transmit it to the President for assent.
“The passage into law of the Police Bill will provide a legal framework to drive Police reform and engender a modern democratic Police that is citizen-focused, service oriented, effective and accountable to the people. The Bill will also address many of the challenges and deficits which make the Police workforce prone to violence and corruption and provide a basis to hold the Police accountable.
“The PSC and the NHRC should wake up from their inertia and act with more effectiveness in fulfilling their statutory functions of ensuring investigation of every case of Police killing, brutality and misconduct, bringing perpetrators to account and ensuring that victims get remedies as prescribed by law or through judicial pronouncement”.
On his part, the Programme Coordinator, Youth Alive Foundation, Mr. Chamberlain Etukudoh noted that their interest on the Police reform was based on the fact that youths were the major victims of the atrocities of an unreformed Nigeria Police Force.
He stated that Police brutality and corruption had directly increased youth crime and human rights abuse adding that youths in Nigeria gad suffered from unlawful detention and extortion, invasion of privacy and irresponsible conduct by Police officers citing the case of Kolade Johnson who was killed by Police in Lagos recently for committing no crime other than being a sport lover.
He continued,” The Police Force must be reformed to reflect the society we live in today, hence the importance of the Police reform bill. The reform should boost youth confidence in the Police Force and improve the strained relationship between the Police and the Nigerian youth.
“We fear that Police brutality is increasing rather than decreasing by the day. Youth Alive Foundation joins her voice with other CSOs on this coalition/network to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to grant assent to Police Reform Bill. We call on our President to save Nigerian youth by signing the bill.
“The Police reform bill is positioned to address gender discrimination and human rights abuse, ensure funding for policing and Police welfare and arbitrary arrest/detention. Youth Alive Foundation will continue to work with NOPRIN and other civil society actors to ensure Police accountability and ensure increased youth participated in the fight against corruption”.
Photo: (L-R)- Programme Coordinator, Youth Alive Foundation, Mr. Chamberlain Etukudoh, National Coordinator, NOPRIN, Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma and Women’s Rights Activist, Emmanuela Azuh during press conference in Lagos on Thursday.
Send your news, press releases/articles to email@example.com. Also, follow us on Twitter @ptreporters and on Facebook on facebook.com/primetimereporters or call the editor on 07030661526, 08053908817.