Nigeria Police and extra-judicial killings, By Adewole Kehinde
Posted by Adewole Kehinde | 13 November 2016 | 4,647 times
On Wednesday October 26, 2016, the House of Representatives summoned the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to appear before it over escalating cases of extra-judicial killings in the country by his men. The police boss is to appear before the House Committees on Police Affairs and Human Rights, along with heads of other security agencies.
The house had cited the case of Bayelsa State, where it said the Joint Task Force and the police had killed four “innocent Nigerians” in the last two weeks. My worry is: since it is a Joint Task Force, how are we sure it is the police that killed the four “innocent Nigerians” in the last two weeks?
It will be recalled that the Inspector-General of Police, on resumption of office, promised Nigerians that the police will be reformed to meet the international standard of policing. In line with this, the IGP had put together, in collaboration with ‘Nigerians Unite Against Terror,’ a Training on Human Rights and Police-Citizens’ Relation for SARS officers in the 12 police zonal commands. This was held simultaneously at the 12 police zonal commands from 19th to 21st of October, 2016.
I was part of that training, and from my interactions with some of the SARS officers, I doubt if those claiming that police are involved in extra-judicial killing are sincere about their allegations. In the case of Eleki community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State where Izu Joseph, Innocent Kokorifa, Inyan and Godgift Oduku were allegedly killed by the Police, we have to look at the security agencies that make up the JTF.
Is the JTF strictly policemen, or do we have the Civil Defence, Nigerian Army and Nigerian Navy as part of the team?
From my many trips to Bayelsa, I rarely see policemen in volatile communities such as Eleki, but the army and navy members in JTF vans patrol the communities.
Although I must commend Hon Sodaguwo Festus-Omoni and his colleagues for raising the issue of extra-judicial killings in Bayelsa, but I think they should have done their homework to know the particular security outfit that was involved in the extra-judicial killings. I must also commend the chairman, House Committee on Ethics/Privileges, Hon Nicholas Ossai, as he enjoined members to rise against extra-judicial killings by security agencies, instead of particularising the police.
I am against injustice and recklessness by security agencies, and I am using this avenue to call on other security agencies to borrow a leaf from the Inspector-General of Police, by organising training on Human Rights and Citizens’ Relations for their personnel.
•Kehinde, an Abuja-based journalist and public affairs analyst, can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo shows IGP Ibrahim Idris.