It is not new that some bigots who have held the Nation into ransom for decades with their bigotry have transferred the venom to their offspring who have continued the oppression mostly at the official quarters wherever they hold sway.
But it becomes worrisome when security officers especially the police officers who are to protect the Nation unity and diversity become devilish bigotry agents oppressing other citizens. What happened at Fadage Police Station,Bode-Olude, Abeokuta on Tuesday October 25, 2022 was nothing but police rascality that must not be allowed to go unpunished.
A woman who was almost weeping while narrating her ordeal in the hands of the bigot police officers identified as Iya Ibeji and Toyin of Fadage Police Station, Abeokuta who masterminded the dastard act revealed what transpired at the Station on the fateful day.
The innocent woman was an intermediary to a rice seller and a buyer. A creditor who wanted to buy 3bags of rice approached the victim (intermediary) that she wanted to buy rice and the victim directed her to someone selling rice who requested that advance payment should be made to facilitate early delivery.
The seller (debtor) reneged on her promise and started evading the intermediary and the creditor. On the fateful day when the intermediary got wind of the creditor arrival at home as she was reported to be sneaking in and out since then, the victim promptly invited the creditor and the three of them went to Fadage Police Station for Police intervention only for police officers to exhibit their bigotry by sending the intermediary to cell naked on the allegation that they were rowdy at the Station even though she was, reportedly, not the one shouting.
In the process, the intermediary qimar (long veil), her scarf and the bra that cover her human dignity were removed as she was thrown to cell. Actually, RIFA understand that those who walk half-nude as a fashion may not exhibit any respect for those who chose to cover themselves and honour their body.
The police women act is nothing but official terrorism. And the culprits must be made to pay for it dearly to serve as deterrent to other reckless bigots in public service especially the Police Force.
It was worrisome that security officers would allow their bigotry to conflict with their official roles when FRN 1999 Constitution Fifth Schedule Part 1 Section 9 provides that “A public officer shall not do or direct to be done, in abuse of his office, any arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights of any other person knowing that such act is unlawful or contrary to any government policy”.
So, the policewomen cruelty is height of police banditry, bigotry, callousness and naughtiness by those engaged to protect the laws who have now turned to law breakers. Anyone who commits a crime is a criminal. So, those police officers at Fadage Police Station, Abeokuta who molested, humiliated, dehumanized and traumatized a law abiding citizen who mistook them for defenders of the oppressed must be made to pay for their criminality.
For clarity, Section 37 of Nigeria Police Act (NPA) 2020 states-“ a suspect shall (a) be accorded humane treatment, having regard to his right to the dignity of his person; and (b) not be subjected to any form of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment’, Also, NPA (2020) states in Section 51(6) “Where it is considered necessary to conduct a more thorough search that requires a person to take off his cloth or headgear, it ; (a) shall be done out of public view and by officer of the same sex with the person being searched; and (b) may not be made in the presence of anyone of the opposite sex unless the person being searched requests it” In this case, there was nothing to warrant search as the victim was the one that actually dragged the debtor and the creditor to the Police Station for settlement of the impasse.
But can one blame them when most of them do not even know the basic expectations of them according to the laws except to extort and exploit the citizens after their godfathers have manipulated them into the Force
Specifically, Section 35 (6) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) provides “Any person who is unlawfully arrested or detained shall be entitled to compensation and public apology from the appropriate authority or person; and in this subsection, “the appropriate authority or person” means an authority or person specified by law”.
So, the Nigeria Police Force must denounce the unruly officers and publicly apologize to the victim as well as compensate her except they want to claim they are now against the Nation constitution. Section 42 of same constitution provides “42. (1) A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:- (a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject’ Or could those bigots could have done so to their brethren whom they always cover their evils?
Section 96 (2b) of Nigeria Police Act 2020 also provides “a police officer shall not, in discharging his duty use a language, or act in such a way that suggests a bias towards a particular group” It was clear that the victim modesty was the headache of the bigot police officers to the extent Iya Ibeji and Toyin were alleged of unrepentantly saying they had disrobed and naked many purdah (eleha) at their Station without any hullabaloo.
Actually, Anti-Torture Act, 2017 provides in section 2—“(I) Torture is deemed committed when an act by which pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person to-(a) obtain information or a confession from him or a third person ; (b) punish him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed (applicable in this case) ; or (c) intimidate or coerce him or a third person for any reason based on discrimination of any kind (this is exactly what the Police women Iya Ibeji and Toyin did).
When such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity provided that it does not include pain or suffering in compliance with lawful sanctions”.
Section 3 of same Anti-Torture Act provides also thus “3—(1) No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war. Internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for torture…”
Section 5 provides “—(1) A person who has suffered or alleges that he has been subjected to torture shall have the right to complain to and to have his case promptly and impartially examined by a competent authority ( in this case Ogun State Police command and or RIFA/NHRC or other authorities) (2) The competent authority under subsection (I) shall take steps to ensure that the complainant is protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any given evidence.”
So, there is no legal justification for the bigot policewomen cruel acts and they must be subjected to disciplinary action fast to assuage the Muslim community in the State that the Police is not engaging in clandestine war against them as revealed by the policewomen confessions. In line with Section 6 of Anti-Torture Act, 2017 RIFA would pursue the case to a logical conclusion to ensure justice is served on the culprits.
It should be noted that on same Tuesday, another police officer of the Station identified as Amasowa Gold copied a message meant for DPO to another hoodlum in the area with whom he oppressed citizens in the area and whose connivance was officially reported to the DPO but in the absence of the DPO he divulged official information to his cronies.
This contradicts Section 96(1e) of NPA 2020 and is nothing but serious dereliction of duty and insubordination for message meant for the DPO to be given to hoodlum by a police officer. So, is it not lie if the Nation claim not to know why there is ravaging insecurity when police to whom security reports are made also made such details available to the criminals fomenting trouble in the society?
But can we feign ignorance to the fact that some police officers have become partners and spokespersons to criminals just because they are being bribed regularly from the proceeds of crimes?
In the meantime, Section 8 of the Anti-Torture Act states’ —(1) A person who actually participates in the infliction of torture or who is present during the commission of the act is liable as the principal.(2) A superior military, police or law enforcement officer or senior ’ government official who issues an order to a lower ranking personnel to torture a victim for whatever purpose is equally liable as the principal….(4) The immediate commanding officer of the unit concerned of the security or law enforcement agencies is held liable as an accessory to the crime for any act or omission or negligence on his part that may have led to the commission of torture by his subordinates”. Section 9 of th Act continues “—(1) A person who contravenes section 2 of this Act commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 25 years”.
So, those police women should be accordingly made to face the wrath of the law without further delay.
RIFA call on all Nigerians to resist and report promptly police officers and other public servants’ indiscipline or torture so as to nib their lawlessness in the bud as soon as possible while calling on the Nigeria Police Force to act swiftly against erring officers involved in these cases so as to restore public confidence that there is no subtle agenda in the Force against some section of the Country or that some people are above the laws of the land because of their faith or tribe.
Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA)