The sudden outburst of the persistent police brutality by the younger generation of Nigerian nationality has raised so much dust in the country recently. The topic and actions taken further has thrown the country into a state of emergency and as such the need for urgent address to the situation at hand.
Generally, Police Officers are recognized under law and their duty are stated without bias or prejudice whatsoever. The popular “police is your friend” statement is so made bearing the civil duties towards citizens of the country in mind.
Nevertheless, over the past decades there has been a major notice in the set views of the police department in the country. The rate of corruption, selfishness and “I don’t care” attitude has been on the increase daily and the federal government in no way makes any form of management policy towards these sector. In that way, these officers of the law has continue to depreciate both in their services toward the nation and her citizens and in their structure.
Amidst these disgusting conduct of the officers of the law, the younger generation of the Nigerian nation have raised their voices and actions loud enough for the whole world to hear their agony and lend a voice even as they march in protest to the maximum brutality of the Nigerian Police.
A two years research has shown that the Nigerian Police commit crime rather than stop one. It has been shown that bullying and torturing has been substituted for proper investigation, imposing criminal acts to vulnerable or shabbily dressed individuals, raping of vulnerable women/girls as well. This is not a case of scape goats as the research had been carried out at over four hundred (400) different police stations in about fourteen (14) states.
A lot of criminal activities have been manned and perpetuated by these same officers whose sworn duty is in line to the citizens and the nation.
This is so because;
1. The Nigerian Police lacks basic and proper training in the field. A lot of officers in uniform are not well disposed, a lot rarely knows the Nigerian constitution talk more of the basic human rights. They go on to abuse the civil power given to them in the name of promoting peace and justice when in the actual sense they are tampering with the citizens basic human rights.
2. There’s little/poor or no resources at all in most cases. A lot of police stations are in shambles, left to riot away with no basic amenities at all. Most times they exhort money from innocent people, they also bill non culprits making the statement “bail is free” a huge lie in poster. Also, they work on cases with monetary mindset that is (who has more money wins the case) hence a lot of rich people have become friends with them as it is no longer a fight for injustice.
3. Again, no Nigeria police station could boast of owing a forensic laboratory for carrying out proper researches and investigation hence, they resort to the act of bullying or touring to question suspects and end cases. This is so wrong as suspects should be treated as innocent until proven guilty with evidence.
How to Fix Police brutality
It is clear to understand that “brutality” in this context simply means the totality of all the shortfalls of the Nigeria police in Nigeria.
1. There is an urgent need to reform the Police by the president of Nigeria so as to return and improve efficiency, trust and confidence. The police force should be free from the presidential and political grips. In this case, these higher authorities would have zero support/backings for the police and hence make them accountable to the general public rather than hide under the shelter of top politicians.
As stated by Stanley in his report for stopping police violence and abuse in Nigeria, he opined that “Only an independent police force can foster professionalism,” in his words, he also stated that “It is also essential to ensure that the police do not monopolize or interfere with investigations of crime and misconduct by their officers. Currently, many cases of police misconduct are overlooked because of political interference, or the expectation of it.
2. There’s a need for foreign bodies to aid the Nigeria police in funding and setting up research laboratories for maximum productivity. These foreign aids should be strictly proposed under a transparent policy so that funds and manpower would not be hijacked as is currently observed in different sectors in Nigeria.
This transparency and accountability would promote proper management and hence real improvement would be observed.
3. Also, to fix police brutality in Nigeria, there’s every need to involve the Human Rights Commission, the Federal attorney general’s office, the courts, and other state and federal officials. The police should be made to be answerable to these bodies other than top politicians and the likes. With these personalised bodies in place, police cases would be well investigated and there would also be maximum accountability.
No country should play with the safety, interest and sanity of it’s citizens. For this reason to protect the country and her citizens the above steps should be considered and implemented immediately in Nigeria.