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Nigeria has been attracting the world’s attention in recent months for all the wrong reasons. Nigerian youths just recently took to the streets to protest police brutality after social media users spread accounts of an unarmed youth being shot and killed by a police officer with the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The protests quickly grew, from their epicenter in Lagos, into a nationwide plea to end government corruption and widespread human rights abuses.
If any institution needs massive moral enhancement at this time, it is the Nigeria Police, which is still devastated in all departments, from the aftermath of #EndSARS protest countrywide. Police brutality is not new, and SARS has been involved in countless other examples of human rights violations but in the past, no one was held accountable for such incidents. Today, thanks to technology and social media, the problem cannot be ignored any longer.
The first #EndSARS protests came and went with the promises of the Nigerian Government to put in efforts on the reformation of the Police and all its other branches. All this came to nought and the second phase of the #EndSARS protests nicknamed #EndSARS2 was born and protesters once again took to the streets in Lagos and Abuja on Monday and Tuesday to pour out their anger against the Nigerian Government.
This action was met with a lot of backlash from the President, Muhammadu Buhari, the Presidency, the Federal Government, the military and even the Police who the protesters were fighting for. The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, reportedly quoted that the force will not allow a repeat of the #EndSARS protest that rocked the country in October while asking his police officers to fire at protesters if threatened.
He said, ‘Remember, even our constitution does not accept violent protests, so, those people that are planning to come up with another protest, if they’ve planned it to be a violent one, they should re-think, otherwise, we have prepared to face them.’
‘We will never allow this type of #EndSARS protests again. It was violent. Peaceful protest is allowed in our constitutions. When this process started peacefully, we provided security for them.’
‘We were moving with them to make sure they were not molested by any group of people and it was going on well until it turned violent.’
‘When it turned violent, they then attacked the people that were even giving them protection. So, we shall never allow any violent protest in this country again. When you talk of peaceful protests, yes, it is allowed but violent protests, never!’
‘We’re to protect this country from hoodlums. We’re to protect this country from violence, and we want every Nigerian to work with us, to prevent what had happened as aftermath of the end of SARS in terms of destruction of public properties, loss of lives, businesses of individuals were crippled, corporate institutions were destroyed.’
The primary duty of any government is to protect the lives and property of its citizens. The Nigerian government since its independence, especially in recent years, have fallen far short of this duty. With police brutality, bribery, extortion, and other crimes against human rights the country can no longer afford to put back the reform of the police service.
The police is an agency of the executive arm of government that maintains law and order in any society. Unlike the military, the police investigates and prosecutes cases in the law courts. It plays a vital role in ensuring peaceful coexistence among the citizens without which the society would be a jungle.
In Nigeria, the police, though a necessary evil, has lost the confidence of several Nigerians because of poor attitude to work, unethical conduct, and ominous disregard for fundamental human rights which have brought about the call for a complete overhaul and reform of the Nigerian police force by different parties and individuals. The Nigeria Police Force these past few years has been on a straight downward spiral. From gross negligence of duty to haphazard methods of carrying out security duties with their long history of engaging in unprofessional, corrupt, and criminal conduct. These have led to a high influx of crime in the country.
Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu who has on numerous occasions, talked about how he is working hard to reform the Nigerian police force has shown that his gross irresponsibility and incapability is unable to steer the Police force to the right direction. It is quite regrettable that under the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, police personnel had for long dropped their core duties for the unusual. Corruption is now synonymous with them. Civilians have to still undergo undue intimidation, harassment, extortion, injustice and jungle justice, molestation, wanton killing and all sorts of plagues from the police despite the so-called reforms. This makes one wonder whether the personnel have become above the law, or whether there are no practical measures to address the scourging issues from the police to civilians as well as the society as a whole.
It goes a long way to show that IGP Adamu is a failed leader and director in all ramifications. His so-called movement for reforms has not brought about any particular changes in the police force and in the security system in Nigeria as a whole. Many Nigerians are still being unlawfully detained by the police without any offence. And because of impatience or ignorance, they give money to the police in the name of bail. This is a serious infringement on their fundamental human rights especially the right to personal liberty. The police are fond of arresting and detaining innocent citizens without any sensible evidence just because of the money they would extort from them under the guise of bail.
It is hard to believe that the Nigerian Police which is saddled with the constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property is now unleashing terror on innocent Nigerians from whose tax it is maintained. It is bizarre that a police officer could raise a weapon because of a ₦100 bribe. Many Nigerians have lost confidence in the Police due to the unprintable acts of some of its operatives. The fundamental human rights of Nigerians have been crudely and horrendously negated by the police under IGP Adamu.
Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu is one crooked fellow who has shown that his sole responsibility is to loot the Nigeria Police Force of all its resources while steering it towards complete disaster and disintegration with his clueless leadership.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK