POLICE BRUTALITY: Time For Nigerians To Speak Up Against Police’s Injustice And Cruelty By Buhari Olanrewaju Ahmed

Our democratic system of government has not changed from military system of government where force is used, owing largely to the lack of respect for fundamental human rights.

We live in a lawless country where lives of citizens are not valued by the Nigerian police; these officers disguise with their uniform as peace keeping ambassadors in a society where they subject people to torture and humiliation.

Our justice system in Nigeria is very weak and manipulative, particularly by the power brokers who ensure the violation of fundamental human rights in connivance with the Nigerian police and other security agencies. Thousands of people have died through police brutality and stray bullets.

Research shows that Nigerian police investigates thousands of crimes on a yearly basis but fails to conduct forensic report. Some of the crimes are not even investigated until the victim cries out on social media. In many occasions, some innocent people who file complaints become the offender especially when the real offender comes from a wealthy family.

In societies where human rights are valued, police serve as assistants to citizens. They act professionally without harassing or brutalising the people they are paid and equipped to protect.

Nigerian police engages in extortion, abuse of power, and intimidation of innocent citizens. They also criminalise people who refuse to succumb to their threats. Sometimes they torture and kill people who question them.

The role of Nigerian police is to protect lives, properties and to enforce the law. Their assignment is to detect and prevent crime by apprehending offenders and charging them to court.

Most Nigerian police officers see Nigerians as criminals. They violate people’s rights and manhandle innocent citizens in the most ruthless fashion. The rule of law has been expunged from our constitution because they have no respect for it.

The Inspector-General of Police is unconcerned about how his men extort and kill innocent people, and he is unable to constitute a rescue committee to investigate the crimes committed by unprofessional police officers.

In many occasions, they force people to write down false statements under duress, with the threat of sending them to jail without fair hearing. It shows clearly that citizens have no voice in Nigeria to demand for their rights especially during police interrogation.

Many Nigerians met their untimely death through stray bullets by the incompetent police officers who lack the ethics of their profession. Almost 95% of Nigerian police officers are drunks that are given Ak-47 to handle.
There was a recent scenario that took place at Onipanu, Lagos state, where a comrade called Tunde Abass was filming police officers who were harassing and extorting a young man and his wife, including their little baby. Tunde’s action angered the station’s DPO who ordered his brutalisation.

The comrade was arrested and tortured by different set of police units upon realising that he was among those who peacefully protested during #EndSars and #EndPoliceBrutality protests last year. Abass was traumatised and hurriedly framed up to be among the hoodlums who burnt down some police stations during the #EndSars protests.

RevolutionNow comrades swung into action by calling out the DPO and his men who arrested their comrade. It was on this note that they charged him to court with frivolous charges that were thrown out by the magistrate judge.

Were it not for RevolutionNow comrades, Tunde Abass could have been killed or sent to prison, where many have fallen as victims of extrajudicial killings by this monsters in police uniform.

Everyone heard about Tina Ezekwe that was shot and killed by two police officers at Iyana-Oworo. Tina was a secondary school student, she was 16-years old before she met her untimely death. Till date no forensic investigation has been carried out, and no arrest has been effected against the two officers who killed her.

Godgift Ferguson Ekerete was 24-years along with his three friends, they were arrested while waiting to board a bus that would take them to a burial ceremony at Rumuomasi in PortHarcourt. They were dragged to mile one police station in Port-Harcourt, and killed the same day they were arrested.

The officers involved in the killings confidently labelled the young men as armed robbers and cultists. None of them was charged to the court for trial. No investigation was conducted towards the killing till date.

To end police brutality and extrajudicial killings, Nigerians need to rise and resist any attempt of intimidation or harassment by Nigerian police. As a matter of fact, a panel of enquiry by external body needs to be set up that would look into police atrocities so as to have good precedence.

The Nigerian Police Service Commission and the National Human Rights Commission have been compromised by shirking their responsibilities. People are subjected to torture and harassment on a daily basis without help from the two organisations that are saddled with such responsibilities.
Nigerian police system needs a total overhaul and reformation to meet up with contemporary standards. It should be an independent body and free from political and presidential interference.

Being independent will make the system work perfectly by building truth and confidence in the minds of the people. 
Their salaries, allowances and barracks need urgent reformation.

It is high time Nigerians rise to demand the end of torture, abuse, intimidation, harassment and extrajudicial killings by the Nigerian police officers. Nigerians should be able to approach any police station without fear of harassment or intimidation.

Nigerians should also feel free to mingle with police officers, take selfie photo(s) when necessary or permissible, smile and share experiences without the fear of intimidation, harassment or frame-ups. This is how a workable system should be.

Until then, the presence of a Nigerian police officer will continue to cause more horror than that of an armed robber.

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