The Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ) has express sadness over the recurrence extrajudicial killings by security agencies in the country.
The NGIJ in a statement after its monthly Strategic Meeting held in Lagos, decried the news of abuse of fire arms, abuse of powers, police brutality and unprofessional conduct being exhibited by men and officers of the Nigerian Police against the citizens.
The Guild of therefore called on President Mohammadu Buhari led federal government, the judiciary and the police authorities to ensure an end to extrajudicial killings in the country.
According to the statement signed by the NGIJ’s Vice President, Oki Samson, the Guild stated that “from the avoidable death of Ada Ifeanyi, Kolade Johnson, the unfortunate incident of actor Lanre Adediwura and singer Viktoh to the trending video of a police officer smashing N200,000 worth IPhone, the activities of the police over land crisis in Lagos and Ogun states, that has attracted condemnations from the judiciary and civil society groups, these uncivilised and many other abuses of police powers demand immediate and aggressive response by government at all levels.”
The investigative Journalists added that “today, the sight of a police officer sends shiver down the spines of Nigerians instead of instilling confidence in their hearts of the citizens.
“Individuals that are supposed to be protectors have turned opponents, allies have become adversaries, and ‘friend’ have turned outright enemy”.
The body decried “the devious manner in which unscrupulous elements in the Nigerian Police are executing its statutory duty recently”, stressing that “it is incomprehensible that a young promising Nigerian was murdered in cold blood after watching a football match in the viewing centre, a pregnant woman was battered, youths are injured because they are donning necklaces, bus drivers are beaten for not parting with cash, bike riders are arrested unjustly amongst other flagrant abuse of human rights and attempts to extort innocent Nigerians”.
The statement disclosed that the “NGIJ has set up a ten-men committee to monitor closely the prosecutions of the reported cases of extrajudicial killings by the security agencies.”
The group observed that the abuse is prominent among the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, haven even refused to obey orders compelling them to be wearing their uniforms.
Calling on the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu and the Police Service Commission to urgently find a lasting solution to misuse oo fire arms by the force, the Guild noted that it was high time authorities made the training and retraining of police officers a priority.
“The training should not be limited to the regular combative, force intelligence or other routine trainings.
“Emotional intelligence must be introduced into the training curriculum. Promotions shouldn’t be given to police officers without promotional trainings.
“Emotional intelligence as a globally accepted skill required for career progression and personal development… is fast gaining traction in private institutions in the country.
“The public service, especially the entire security architecture, must embrace it”, NGIJ said, adding that “the reward and discipline system of the Nigerian Police ought to be looked into.
“The force should note that none of its good works will be noticed and commended by the citizenry because the activities of erring officers will keep putting the entire apparatus in the bad light.
“Hence, promotion, demotion or dismissals should be conducted with accurate scrutiny. No case of inhumane behaviour must be swept under the carpet.
“We therefore, recommend strict punishment according to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to any erring police officers.
“Conclusively, the recruitment into the Nigerian Police require due attention. Young, vibrant and innovative minds should be infused into the police set-up.
“To maintain law and order requires men and women who are both calm and firm in a tense situation.
“The security atmosphere in the country is currently supercharged. It is anathema for police officers who are not in the right frame of mind to brandish weapons in the society only to claim it was ‘accidental discharge’ after a life has been lost.
“All hands must be on deck. Let’s save Nigeria from trigger-happy officers”, NGIJ warned.