BASHIRU ADEWUNMI AGUNLOYE
All over the world the primary duty of a police officer is to protect citizens and properties. A police officer is saddled with the responsibilities of providing public safety by maintaining order, responding to emergencies and promoting good community relations. The police are also out to identify, pursue, and arrest suspects and perpetrators of criminal acts.
In 2016, the World Internal Security and Police Index (WISPI) ranked Nigeria Police worst in the world.
Recent events of police brutality in Nigeria are making Nigerians to increasingly losing hope and confidence in the Nigeria Police owing to the continual and reoccurrences case of brutality and killings of innocent Nigerians by the operatives of the police force. The incidents of brutality by the police include battering, shooting of innocent Nigerians, arrest of innocent Nigerians and unethical behaviours amongst others.
A report by opinion based research foundation, NOllPolls carried out in the year 2019, identified the Nigeria Police as the worst violators of human rights in Nigeria.
Police in Nigeria kill innocent individuals because of extortion of bribes, or other pecuniary reasons. Men of the Nigeria Police mount illegal roadblocks and checkpoints routinely on major highways in order to forcefully extort bribes from commuters; the forceful extortion of bribes on the highways often results in incidents of intentional and accidental killings.
Young men in Nigeria have been on the receiving end of police brutality through indiscriminate arrest, and detention, violation of human rights, raid of public places by rogue police officers.
A typical example of Nigeria Police’s violation of human rights against citizens is the arrest of Yinka Badmus, a Photo Journalist on December 31st, 2019 at his neighbourhood in Somolu, area of Lagos State because of his “hairstyle”.
The reported cases of police brutality are more pronounced in Lagos metropolis. On Saturday, 20 April, 2019, police operatives from the Trinity Police Station, Ajegunle area of Lagos State killed a 20-year -old lady, Ada Ifeanyi.
In the month of March, 2019, Nigeria recorded the most number of reported killings by the men of the Nigeria Police, also on March 2nd, 2019; some police officers shoot a bus driver dead in Mosan, Ayobo area of Lagos for refusing to part with money.
Precisely, two weeks later on 18th March, 2019, an 18-year -old teenage girl, Hadiyat Sikiru was killed by a stray bullet fired by a police man in Adamo Community, Ikorodu Lagos State, an Okada (tricycle) rider, Ademola Moshoodi, was shot dead in Kilo area in Surulere, Lagos for refusing to part with N200.
Also, a young man of 36 years old identified as Kolade Johnson was reportedly murdered on Sunday, 31 March, 2019 by operatives of the Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS) who visited his area in Mangoro area of Ikeja in an unmarked commercial bus to arrest one of the boys of a major music producer who was wearing dread locks.
The likes of Kolade Johnson brutality incident had happened in several places in and outside Lagos State.
However, it is on record that whenever cases of police brutality occurred the killers displayed no emotions of remorse.
Out of Lagos, police men were reported to have killed two drivers in Lokoja, area of Kogi State in January, 2019. Also in October of 2019, a 31-year -old lady, Anita Akapson, who returned to Nigeria after completing her education abroad, was killed by the police.
The way the incident of police brutality is occurring in Nigeria, there is no doubt that the Nigeria Police need total overhaul of attitude, extortion and many other corruption related vices. This must happen before it gets worse.
.Agunloye could be reached via [email protected]
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