HURIWA condemns police stop-and-search, seeks return of military checkpoints

Posted by News Express | 9 July 2015 | 3,006 times

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has rejected the decision and asked President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the police hierarchy to reverse it forthwith.

The Rights group has also demanded the return of counter terrorism military checkpoints all across the country to be manned by well trained, well motivated and well equipped soldiers who should be deployed with state of the art technology inclined security infrastructures to track down armed elements of the Boko Haram terrorists who are currently on nationwide well coordinated rampage that so far have resulted in prohibitively high casualty figures.

HURIWA said the recent directive from the Presidency asking for dismantling of military check points and their replacement by the ill tempered and poor trained and equipped operatives of the Nigeria Police has created national atmosphere of hysteria, collective panic and indeed is the motivation that has created and reengineered the enabling environment for the renewed vigour with which the armed Islamists have vigorously relaunched their targeted bombing campaigns across North East and North West of Nigeria with the possibility of extending their frontiers of dare devilry to other geopolitical zones if the confusing directive on security preparedness of the country is not reversed.

HURIWA reminded President Jonathan that Boko Haram terrorists successfully uprooted the Mobile Police Training College in Gwosa Borno State killing scores of poorly equipped police operatives with dozens of others still unaccounted for till now for over two years, so why does the current administration repose her confidence in these same police operatives to protect civilians if they  can't even protect themselves and training institutions from terrorists attacks persistently?  "This decision is hasty, emotive and error prone and therefore should be overturned ".

HURIWA argued that contrary to the jaundiced report by Amnesty International purportedly alleging series of rights violations carried out against the armed terrorists of Boko Haram by soldiers it is even the operatives of the Nigeria Police Force that have yet to embrace human rights education and have instead adopted the use of torture as a widespread tool of obtaining forced confessional statement from persons allegedly in conflict with the law therefore it is preposterous that these same operatives deeply entrenched in the widespread practice of human rights violations are being deployed on the so called stop and search duties by the police hierarchy. 

HURIWA reminded the President that only few months back the United Nations rapporteur on torture visited Nigeria police formations and authored an authoritative report of widespread use of torture by police operatives against suspects in their detention facilities.  These far reaching findings by this UN human rights expert which was submitted to both the Nigerian Human Rights Commission and to Mr. President are yet to be acted upon even as torture by police operatives are unleashed daily not only in the secrecy of the derelict police detention facilities but even in the full glare of members of the public in these police road blocks.

The rights group also accused the new Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, of virtually doing nothing to improve the human rights contents and has indeed failed to ensure that commissioners of police and others in supervisory positions are compelled to ensure that operatives in the field respect the provisions of chapter four of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended) which are the universally recognised human rights provisions.

“The new IGP has not added any value to the enforcement of professional discipline amongst his operatives but rather has always made media statements in hasty defence of the policing institution which in all honesty is in need of operational overhaul and reforms.”

The rights group said it was morally and legally repugnant for the police Inspector General to reintroduce STOP AND SEARCH by these poorly trained operatives vast in human rights violations and extortion when these same notorious extortionist checkpoints were only recently abolished following widespread complaints by a cross segments of the Nigerian people.

“We reject this directive for stop and search and warned that this Ill advised directive if allowed to stay will inevitably result in grave violations of the human rights of Nigerians. What then was the underlying objective of dismantling military checkpoints which in any case should have been fortified and well equipped to deter terrorists from staging seamless bombing campaigns rather than  replacing them with these same poorly trained and poorly supervised and poorly disciplined Police operatives? Just as the saying goes that we should search for our missing black goat now that the day light is in place we urge President Buhari to direct the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, to discontinue this anti human rights stop and search practice which is another phrase for STOP AND EXTORT,” HURIWA said.

•Photo shows Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Kenneth Minimah.

Source: News Express

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