By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: Following the rise in Police brutality and extrajudicial executions across the country, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has appealed to the National Assembly and President Muhammadu Buhari, to ensure that the Police Service Commission (PSC) is not systematically killed.
This is just as it said, that the mounting cases of police indiscretions could lead to people taking the law into their hands, if they can not find redress whenever their human rights are wantonly violated.
Making this appeal at a press conference in Abuja on Sunday, the National Coordinator HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, stressed, that it is in the self-enlightened interest of all Nigerians, that the powers and functions of the Police Service Commission are not undermined by power seeking persons, adding however, that the Governing Board of the PSC must wake up and defend the integrity and powers of the Commission.
In his words, “We are disturbed by the unprecedented rise in the cases of professional misconduct and indiscipline amongst the ranks and file of the Nigerian police force and the attendant adverse consequences on the enjoyment of the fundamental human rights of the citizens”.
Furthermore, HURIWA called attention to the numerous cases of police extrajudicial executions all across Nigeria, citing a recent case in Port Harcourt, where a group of mechanics were rounded up by the police and physically tortured even as one of them was shot dead by the Nigerian police force whilst in detention.
He also said that, “In Enugu, a human rights activist probing the case of sexual violations of a teenager by a son of a rich man was physically molested by the police as already documented by a group of HUMAN RIGHTS activists led by Professor Joy Ezeilo.
“In the FCT there have been at least three major cases of police extralegal killings at the checkpoint since last year and these killers in police uniforms are roaming the streets free,” he lamented
Onwubiko added, that whereas cases of professional misconduct by the police operatives are on the rise phenomenally and the hierarchy seems not to be bothered about all of these, there is a more sinister issue that worries them, and that is, “the near dead situation of the POLICE SERVICE COMMISSION which is the OMBUDSMAN that ought to check the excess of the police. This body is busy engaging in a war of attrition with the POLICE INSPECTOR GENERAL, over who has the right to recruit constables.
“Whilst they are in court struggling for supremacy, individual cases of indiscipline amongst NPF operatives and officers are seemingly unattended to or swept under the carpets of impunity against the extant powers and functions that the Police Service Commission is imbued with by the Nigerian Constitution as an independent commission and the extant Police Service Commission Act, which clearly spell out their functions and powers”.
HURIWA further listed the functions of the PSC to include among others: Be responsible for the appointment and promotion of persons to offices (other than the office of the Inspector-General of Police) in the Nigeria Police Force; Dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over persons (other than the Inspector-General of Police) in the Nigerian Police Force.
Others are; Formulate policies and guidelines for the appointment, promotion, discipline and dismissal of officers of the Nigerian Police Force; Identify factors inhibiting or undermining discipline in the Nigeria Police Force; Formulate and implement policies aimed at the efficiency and discipline to the Nigeria Police Force, and many more.
The HURIWA boss, appealed to Nigerians to ensure that the PSC is not allowed to die, adding that it had forwarded a petition to the Police Service Commission since October 2019, from some group of people in Enugu who had called for the removal of ACP Fidelis Ogarebe from Enugu state police command for alleged violations of their human rights and for interfering in the enjoyment of their right to own property, noting however, that the PSC has not bothered to respond or ask those who raised the allegations to show up to back their allegations with facts with a view to providing redress.