Police Extra-Judicial Killings
THE Nigeria police force has again been in the news for the wrong reasons. Its men on Sunday, March 31, 2019 killed one Kolade Johnson while watching a live football match at a viewing centre in Lagos State.
JOHNSON was hit by a bullet during a raid by the anti-cultism unit of the Lagos Police Command at Onipetesi,along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.
The action has sparked nationwide outrage, with the police authorities promising not to sweep the matter under the carpet like several others. It has arrested and dismissed the culprit. The culprit is currently facing murder charges before Lagos High Court.
BEFORE this incident, the police are notorious for brutalising and killing innocent young Nigerians for their brand of phones, hair styles, colour of clothes among others.
THE killings remain a horrific and despicable act of cruelty by the state apparatus paid to protect Nigerians. Reports of extra-judicial killings and disproportionate use of firearms by policemen across the country continue to be a public discourse with no solution in sight.
BETWEEN November 6,2018 and March 2019, eight Nigerians were mowed down by these trigger happy cops.
On November 6,2018, a policeman in Lagos injured a female complainant around Ikeja SODV Court. The policeman allegedly sprayed tear gas on her eyes for reporting a rapist.
A Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad policeman reportedly killed one person at Iyana-Ipaja area, Alimosho Local Government area of Lagos State on November 28,2018 over a traffic violation.
POLICE Sergeant Williams Enah killed one Air Force personnel in Calabar,Cross River State on December 27,2018, while he was trying to disperse a crowd. A policeman on January 7,2019 reportedly shot two drivers in Lokoja, Kogi State for refusing to give bribe.
ON March 3,2019, a policeman in Amukoko Lagos State shot and killed one Abeeb Dauda who was mistaken for a trouble -maker. Also, on March 18,2019, a stray bullet from the rifle of a policeman killed Tawakalitu Tiamiyu in Ikorodu, Lagos.
REPORTS of extra-judicial killings and wanton use of force by the policemen across the country came on the front burner on March 26, 2019 with the death of one NSCDC officer, Ogar Jumbo in Abuja.
JUMBO, an Assistant Superintendent of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, died in Nyanya Abuja after an altercation with some policemen on duty. He was allegedly beaten with a baton in the presence of his wife and children over violation of traffic rules before he slumped and died at a nearby hospital.
A report by a human rights body, the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) revealed that 30 cases of culpable homicide arising from the reckless use of firearms by the police occurred in 2016. The Inter Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, the Centre for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy and the Forum for Justice jointly estimated that over 155 Nigerians were killed extra-judicially by the police with about 500 others maimed or detained without trial.
WE therefore join other Nigerians in condemning the wanton and savage extra- judicial killings which have become the bane of Nigeria police in the country. It is of great note that the extra-judicial murder of the founding Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf, by the police in 2009 may likely be blamed for the current insurgency in northern Nigeria.
WE condemn the shedding of innocent blood by the police in the country. These violations and abuses are aberrations that must be stopped forthwith.
THE federal government should address the issue frontally. The police should be urgently reformed and be made to be accountable. We recommend that officers of the police should be made to undergo periodic psychiatric tests to ascertain their mental state. It is only an unstable mind that will turn or cock his gun and shoot a defenseless and innocent man on the streets. The best time to reform the police is now.
AGAIN, the curricular of the police training school must be overhauled to inculcate in police cadets the essence of human rights and respect for the citizenry and people’s lives. There should be an intensive reorientation campaign to radically transform the mentality of our policemen.
THE police authority and Police Service Commission should do more to apprehend any policeman under the influence of alcohol while on duty. They are not only threats to motorists on the road, but also pedestrians are not safe.
ADDING to this is that the procedure of recruiting people into police force should be looked into critically. Those with questionable characters and exhibiting traits inimical to the interest of the society should not be recruited into the force.
AGAIN, the time has come for the Police Commission to up the ante by increasing the education requirement needed for recruitment into the police force in the country. The process whereby dropouts, ex-convicts and criminally minded people in the society find their way into the police force should be discontinued.
EXTRA-judicial killing is a breach of section 33 of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria (as amended) entitling victims to remedy or damages.
THE HOPE however commends the Lagos Police Command for acting promptly by arresting the killer policeman immediately. In the time past, such case would have been swept under the carpet.
WE call on the police to diligently prosecute the culprits in Kolade Johnson’s case to serve as a deterrent to others.
We insist, something urgent must be done to stop these killings.