By Gift Olivia Samuel
ABUJA: The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has called on the Inspector General of Police(IGP), Usman Alkali Baba to instruct his personnel to steer clear of civil matters, especially issues of land.
The HURIWA National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko made the call at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, where he spoke on the alleged deployment of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team by the office of the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), to dispose the people of Ndiaga Amechi Awkunanaw community of their land.
Onwubiko explained that the community is accusing the leadership of the FCID headed by DIG Joseph Egbunike of misdirection and misusing SWAT to try to allegedly assist the so-called land grabber to dispose them of their land.
According to him, “We are here to reemphasize our position that the police must never be found being used by private estate developers to try to grab land from native people in any part of the country and especially in Enugu State”.
He charged the IGP to investigate the allegations of gross human rights abuses being made by the people of Ndiaga Amechi Awkunanaw community, that— the office of the DIG in charge of FCID is being misused to send Mobile policemen to work for some land grabbers— People who want to take their lands, adding that their community was invaded, arrests made and some of those arrested were taken away from Enugu to Abuja and some to a Magistrate court in Nasarawa state, and thereafter quickly remanded in police custody.
“Does Nasarawa state have any jurisdiction over a land related civil matter that happened in Enugu state? Why should you take individuals from Enugu to Nasarawa and take them into the magistrate court and the court immediately throws them into police custody? These are levels of gross human right abuses. Where is the human rights desk in the police?
“What does land issue have to do with a specialized squad of Policemen who are supposed to be chasing kidnappers, and terrorists that are all over the place?” He queried.
Onwubiko also asked the IGP to put proper supervisory mechanisms in place in order to foster strict professional code of conduct among personnel.
“We appeal to the IGP to look into these allegations that the community has already submitted to him concerning the way and manner that the office of the DIG in charge of FCID has carried about his jobs particularly going into an area that is not a strategic mandate that he should be chasing”, he said.
He also called on the National Assembly to wake up and reform the Police Service Commission (PSC), adding that the PSC is not working and is not doing its job to instill professionalism in the Police Service.
“The PSC should have a functional forensic Investigative laboratory to investigate cases of abuses and the use of weaponry by the police operatives but they are not doing that because they don’t have a lab at all”, he stated.