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Police reject accusations of violating citizens' rights

19 September 2014, 08:01Augustine Osayande

Abuja - Police have refuted allegations of  torturing and other ill-treating women and children.

Human rights group, Amnesty International, leveled the allegations against the uniformed forces on Thursday.

According to a statement by Emmanuel Ojukwu,  Force Public Relations Officer from the Force Headquarters Abuja, the Nigeria Police took "serious exceptions to some blatant falsehoods and innuendoes" contained in that report.

“The attention of the Nigeria Police has been drawn to an on-line publication entitled ‘Welcome to Hell-Fire, torture and other ill-treatment in Nigeria.

"While we do not question the freedom of Amnesty International to earn its relevance and bread, the Nigeria Police takes serious exceptions to some blatant falsehoods and innuendos contained in that report,” the statement said.

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Ojukwu added that it smacked of indecency and intemperate language to liken Nigeria, to hell fire.

"That cannot be true. We believe that Nigeria is a growing nation, green and largely peaceful. While the Nigeria Police and other operators in the criminal justice sector are undergoing systematic reforms, and aligning themselves with the demands of democracy, there is no gain saying the fact that the Nigeria Police Force has since improved its operational efficiency and effectiveness."

Ojukwu said since the dawn of democracy in 1999, the Nigeria Police Force had significantly improved on its human rights records, owing largely to training and re-training, community policing, attitudinal change and structural transformation.

The statement said Amnesty International admitted in its methodology that it visited some Police Formations and interviewed some family members of suspects.

“At no time in its report, did Amnesty speak or interface with the Police authorities. This obviously shows their disdain and apparent lack of character where the democratic tenets of fair hearing are concerned."

Ojukwu said the code of conduct of officers and the police regulations prohibited torture and incivility to members of the public.

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“We are versed with international best practices, and the dictates of the Nigerian Constitution as regards human rights. So the Police do not routinely torture suspects. It is not systemic or endemic,” he said.

He said whenever instances of human rights abuses were brought to the notice of superintending officers, the offending personnel were promptly sanctioned in line with the laws and regulations.

“Nigeria Police Force has a zero tolerance for corruption and abuse of power. There is no immunity for impunity in Nigeria Police Force. Besides, the Nigeria Police is women-friendly. We do not target sex workers, nor routinely adopt rape as a weapon.”

Ojukwu said the Police had established a family and human trafficking unit to protect the rights of women, children and the vulnerable members of our society.  

According to him, police should nonetheless scan through the document, and investigate any current human rights abuses linked to any officer or formation.
“We crave the indulgence of Amnesty International to, for the first time, furnish the Police with specific details of its allegations to enable us reach the ends of justice for the alleged victims, and to improve our service delivery.”

- CAJ News


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