Extrajudicial killings: Coalition of lawyers calls for Police reform

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Policemen who 'murdered' suspected phone thieves in Lagos arrested
Policemen who ‘murdered’ suspected phone thieves in Lagos arrested

By Emmanuel Afonne

Coalition of Public Interests Lawyers and Advocates (COPA) has urged the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Adamu, to initiate a reform process in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to ensure its men work according to the rules of engagement.

The call followed reactions and condemnation of policemen seen in a viral video, shooting arrested suspects allegedly belonging to a notorious armed robbery gang terrorising Iba community in Lagos.

A statement issued on Wednesday by Ifeoluwa Adeyeye, of Human Rights Desk, COPA, stated that time had come for the IGP to reform the Nigeria Police to help instill sanity in the society.

“Why we all show our collective discontent for continued brutality, we also call on the Police Force to conduct a thorough and unadulterated investigation so that these merchants of death in legal uniforms can be brought to book.

“This will in the long run serve as a strong template of deterrent to other aberrant officers in our entire security architecture.

“It is totally worrisome and mind-boggling considering what circumstance may warrant security operatives to shoot at mere suspects and even when they don’t pose danger and after they have already succumbed.

“Our patience and calm for such notorious brutality and culture of torture on the part of those whose duties are primarily and fundamentally to protect lives and property of all Nigerians, have worn out,” Adeyeye said.

He said the constitution prohibits acts savagery, while the country is also a signatory to international conventions and treaties that outlaw torture and ill-treatment.

Adeyeye explained that there is no doubt that SARS has over the years earned a notorious reputation of a brutal agency, following alleged cases of extrajudicial killings, torture or ill-treatment of detainees as well as extortion of suspects.

Meanwhile, the police command in Lagos has arrested the four policemen involved in the extrajudicial killing of the two robbery suspected in their custody.

The command said the policemen, identified as Insp. Fabiyi Omomayara, Sergeant Olaniyi Solomon, Sergeant Solomon Sunday and Corporal Aliyu Mukaila, would be charged with murder.

The command said this is because the affected policemen breached the code of professional conduct and use of fire arms.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the policemen had responded to a distress call around 3p.m. on Aug. 19, from one Valentine Anugu.

Anugu had alleged that he was robbed of his mobile phone worth N450,000 by four armed robbers on two motorcycles.

While two of the robbery suspects fled, the other two were held, disarmed of the two locally-made pistols, six life and five expended cartridges they had before shooting them inside the commercial bus they (police) used for the operation.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police Lagos State, Zubairu Muazu has ordered a thorough investigation into the incident.

Spokesman of Lagos Police Command, DSP Bala Elkana, confirmed the development.

According to the Spokesman, the policemen are currently facing internal disciplinary proceedings, known as Orderly Room Trial.

“If found culpable, they will be dismissed from the Force and handed over to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) Yaba for prosecution in the conventional court,” Elkana said.

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