Hold Police Leadership Responsible For Officer's Misconduct - RIFA

Right and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) has addressed the several Police Misconducts in Nigeria and directed all the blame to the Police Leaders. 

The gruesome murder of assistant captain and defender of Remo Stars Football Club (RSFC); late Tiamiyu Kazeem (aka Kaka) on February 22, 2020 in Sagamu, Ogun State by a murderous Zonal Intervention Squad (ZIS) officer nicknamed Oyato from Obada Oko base, Ogun State has re-awakened the need for urgent national action on curbing the menace of armed robbers in police uniform.

The unfortunate incidence was just two days after same set of people killed innocent traders in Abeokuta over flimsy excuse of looking for yahoo boys by those whose actions even worse than the yahoo boys being purportedly pursued.

Just few days before the Olomore, Abeokuta murderous action of same ZIS officers, four people were reportedly killed at Obada Oko along Abeokuta-Ifo Road when they drove along wrong (one) way and collided with another vehicle which was oblivious of the officers’ wrong driving which as usual would be defended by merciless Police spokesperson in the state as if other Nigerians’ lives were nothing once they are not police officers.

The ZIS base in Obada Oko parades the most wicked, dangerous, brutal criminals who ought to have been in prisons if Nigeria Police has been led by people of good character. Nearly on weekly basis, Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) receive worrying reports of how ZIS officers oppress the masses in a bid to extort them and their leader would only cover them or ignore complaints on his officers’ misdeeds.

In fact, the head of ZIS Obada Oko should have been removed from the Police force if Nigerians and the laws of the land really matter to Nigeria Police Force.

The heinous crimes of the ZIS officers as reported by victims included brutal beating and arrest of residents and households whom they enter their houses violently without any introduction, forceful transfer of moneys from ZIS victim accounts to ZIS officers’ accounts, seizure of people’s land in connivance with land grabbers who might have bribed them, etc.

In fact, the level of callousness of most public security outfits in Nigeria- especially Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) or ZIS could better be imagined unless one has been a victim.

What RIFA understood based on investigations is that most of the secret cultists who turned out to be politicians’ political thugs find their ways easily to Nigeria police through slots whereby they continue their usual business and murderous tendency in State uniform where protection is guaranteed.

As a result, there is need to hold responsible guarantors of police officers who misbehaved while in service. In this case, Oyato guarantor(s) should be quizzed and prosecuted for recommending wrong person to the Force.

 

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The worst is that whereas the State Police Commands are usually eager to parade non-members accused of any crime before the public, they find it difficult to expose their colleagues who engage in criminal acts and this has been an inspiration for wicked officers to continue unleashing terror on the public.

For instance, the only surviving child of a family was gruesomely murdered by SARS officers in a reckless and wicked shooting in Sepeteri, Oyo State on October 16, 2019 and till date the Oyo State Police Command has not deemed it fit to brief the public on the identity of the wicked officers.

Would that have been the case if any of the Police Command leadership family members was gruesomely murdered like that?

The incidence of 22 February 2020 would not be the first brought to Ogun State Police Command attention which it killed once the accused is a Police officer.

RIFA hope and believe today police officers would one day leave the service and by the time they leave would they be happy if their family members are murdered like that?

The claim that Remo Star defender wore Soldier cap was a flimsy excuse to justify criminality of criminals in police fold. Section 341 of Police Act (2004) said an officer shall be held responsible for actions done in excess of his authority.

Likewise Regulation 370 (d) & e which is the First Schedule to Police Act (2004) regarded failure by a police officer to wear appropriate or report damage to his uniform as a criminal offence.

How many police officers on the road without name or number tags have been arrested by the Police Commands?

Or is it no longer the case of whoever wants to dash someone a piece of cloth, one should first examine what he wears?

The lawlessness of SARS/ZIS including other police officers is unbecoming especially under the current Inspector General of Police without any clear operational guideline/policy to enshrine discipline among officers.

The current Inspector- General of Police has witnessed one of the worst cases of police unprofessional conducts which he overlooks. With that, the Federal Government should look for a credible and competent person to head Nigeria Police if only the nation wants to improve its internal security.

 

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However, RIFA appreciate the Police authority for dismantling ZIS base, Obada Oko which hitherto has been the terror den for Nigerians as announced by Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Peter Ogunyonwo on Tuesday 25 February, 2020 in Sagamu during a condolence visit to the deceased’s family.

In addition, RIFA call on the Federal government to independently prosecute all police officers who have worked at Obada Oko base in the last three years.

 

Hold Police Leadership Responsible For Officer's Misconduct - RIFA

 

Specifically, the ZIS last commander should be given a special trial for supervising oppression of Nigerians by his officers. Henceforth, Federal government should resuscitate Police Public Complaint lines as the unit has remained inactive since Mr Abayomi Sogunle was transferred as the head of the Unit.

All police officers reported to have committed verifiable and confirmed misconducts should have its DPO/AC/
Commissioner held responsible with stiff sanction. It is only then that discipline can be restored in Nigeria Police Force.

Similarly, Oyo State Police Command deserves a new breed of leadership that will engender discipline in officers and halt spate of assassination and police officers’ misconducts in the state being supervised by the current Commissioner.

Except the Federal government wants to tell Nigerians that Police is to kill defenceless Nigerians, most police officers no longer offer protective service for which they were engaged but only cherish oppressing armless Nigerians.

If the current spate of SARS/ZIS criminality is not checked, the country moves towards anarchy as people would be forced to resist further oppression by security agencies and if that should happen, the result could rather be imagined as security operatives in the country do not constitute more than 5% of the total population.

Before then, let all stakeholders rise in unison to condemn Police excesses and demand obedience to law by Police officers.

Besides, duties of Police should be shared with sisters’ security organizations through constitutional amendments so as to make the security situation of the country improve.

This is because Police monopoly in the management of the nation internal security has done harms than good to our society.

The Ogun State Police Commissioner has demonstrated his readiness to eschew indiscipline but RIFA only saw a lip service as officers’ indiscipline worsens under the Command’s watch.

RIFA hereby call on all Nigerians with conscience to rise against lawlessness and put pressure on the nation Police to remove bad elements out of its fold.

Luqman Soliu
President,
Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA)

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