The president of Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA), Luqman Soliu has reacted to insecurity in Nigeria.
Insecurity in Nigeria.
Even though the current administration inherited worst security situations in Nigeria culminating in daily attacks and loss of tens or hundreds of lives even in Abuja especially by the dreaded Boko Haram boys which it has reduced drastically, there is no justification in supervising worsening security situations occasioned by diminishing returns of the nation security chiefs, Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) noted.
Recall that in January 2020, the House of Representatives called for replacement of service chiefs while the senate corroborated same in July 2020. Having reviewed the security and human rights situations of the country, RIFA hereby support the call for IGP and service chiefs removal without further delay.
Mohammed Abubakar Adamu was appointed Inspector General of Police (IGP) on January 15, 2019, to replace Ibrahim Idris who attained retirement age at the time. The worrisome level of indiscipline and unprofessional conducts of police officers geometrically increased during IGP Adamu tenure.
This has deteriorated to the extent that raping, killing, escape from lawful police custody of prime suspects in serial killings, assaulting and maiming of Nigerians become cheaper for the criminal police officers and other criminally-minded people to commit under the watch of the current IGP who has shown that Nigeria Police is too big for him to manage.
For instance, in October 2019, the only surviving son of a family was gruesomely murdered by some Special Anti-Robbery Squad officers in Sepeteri, Oyo State apart from other atrocities by many police officers across the nation and till date no release has been made on the identity of the criminal cops that eliminated the breadwinner of a family ditto to a Footballer killed in February 2020 in Ogun State whose murderer’s penalty for the offence is kept from public domain.
During COVID-19 lockdown, hundreds of innocent Nigerians were killed by murderous police officers while millions were duped by same people on the roads, yet nothing has been heard of the murderous officers’ identities and penalty meted out to them.
In fact, the current costly items were largely due to extortion of police officers on the roads as businessmen have no alternative than to add police extortion to cost of their goods and services. Is current IGP appointed to supervise killings and duping of Nigerians?
Unless the current IGP is removed for a disciplined and humane officer to take charge like erstwhile IGP M.D Abubakar who reigned between 2012 and 2014, the nation may continue witnessing the killing spree, extortion and human rights abuse by criminals in police uniforms and their colleagues outside the Force.
During M.D Abubakar regime, crime among police officers reduced significantly and they were dutiful when called upon. Apart from the ex-IGP instilling discipline to a large extent in the officers, he introduced camouflage uniform which Nigerians thought would have repositioned the Force for better.
Unfortunately, the Force has been getting worse since M.D Abubakar left to the extent that other Forces are being infected by Police indiscipline and corruption virus.
The indiscipline and abuse of police authority has even attracted the National Assembly attention culminating in the Senate in July 2020 to have resolved that the Police should abide by and enforce certain constitutional provisions, particularly fundamental rights of persons in Police custody under chapter 4 of the l999 constitution (as amended) and other international instruments on Human rights to which Nigeria is a signatory (including provisions that reiterate the importance of fundamental human rights and advocating for their observance).
Most police officers engage in extortion and abuse of human rights perhaps because they know their leaders are mostly indifferent about extortion and abuse of human rights of the masses by them.
Nevertheless, the National Assembly has failed to provide credible suggestions by proffering workable solutions to the inhumanity of some police officers. Instead of including in the Police Reform Act immediate suspension and reprimand of Divisional Police Officer (DPO) or Area/Commander under whose any police officer mishandle or abuse public members either by maltreating or killing such public member and place on suspension emoluments of such officers heading the criminal team, the Assembly did nothing of such that could drive a better Nigeria Police Force.
Besides, a Special Joint Force-Public/Civil service Disciplinary Commission ought to have been recommended for establishment. This Commission would take charge of reports of abnormal demeanour of all members of Nigeria Armed forces, Police and allied security arms and those in public or civil service and their leaders would be made to produce them (the accused officers) in earnest to the new Commission which will prosecute the officers and recommend necessary actions and disciplinary steps against the culprits.
This would restore discipline among the Force members in no distant time once they know it is no longer es-prit de corps for crimes of officers.
The appointment on July 13, 2015 of the Service Chiefs, made up of the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, the Chief of the Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ekwe Ibas and the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar to lead the nation security outfits has reached diminishing returns as noted by vigilant Nigerians.
Apart from the extant laws recommending two-year tenure for the service chiefs, their efforts have not yielded better desired security improvement due to indiscipline of majority of officers and diversion of funds meant for officers’ welfare to private pockets.
Actually, the Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service (HTACOS) for Officers (2017) for the armed forces spell out the ‘tenure of Defence and Service Chiefs’ in Section 11.08 that “an officer appointed the Chief of the Defence Staff, Chief of the Army Staff, Chief of the Naval Staff, Chief of the Air Staff shall bear four-star General and may hold the appointment for a continuous period of 2 years from the date of expiration of the initial 2 year period. Section 11.09 stipulates – The foregoing notwithstanding, the President, C-in-C reserves the prerogative to extend the tenure of a CDS/Service Chief irrespective of his age or length of service.
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However, the amended HTACOS that support extension of tenure of service chiefs could not be justified to retain the service chiefs whose diminishing returns do not justify their continuous stay in office except President Muhammadu Buhari insists that no other better military men exist in Nigeria with superior ideas to rescue the nation from the current security quagmire.
Since the current IGP lacks zeal to make policy statements that would gear up officers to be dutiful, obedient to laws and patriotic to the nation, it would not be out of place if someone else is assigned the task of rekindling the nation police affairs.
Similarly, as the service chiefs have rendered their known security expertise and strategies without further improvement in the nation security, nothing would be more beneficial and honourable than having them replaced before more damage is done to the nation security.
Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA)