The series of unfortunate events (dearth of National cum internal security due to over concentration on Regime Security) in the past 3years in Nigeria clearly demonstrate that there is no rights to personal liberty in Nigeria. Despite the fact that the clarity of the 1999 constitution as amended on that matter is obvious to the blind-
“Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly, no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment.” — Section 34 (1)
The Impunity of our police service especially those of the special Anti-Robbery Squad is alarming. The purpose of policing has since be altered for some evil agenda weaponized against the innocent citizenry, with an unwritten clear mandate to terrorize the youth of our nation based on recent data as mined by the #EndSARS #ReformPoliceNG Movement over one year of advocacy.
There are growing Concerns on adolescent killings across Nigeria. —
Emeka Ojinze obtained his VISA to the UAE to study alternative energy sources but was killed in the Anambra in 2017) by a Policeman seeking to extort him, He was 23.
Angela Nkechi Igwetu, a corper in Abuja, with just a few hours to passing out, but was gunned down by a trigger happy Police officer. She was 23.
Richard Peter Gora was tortured to death by Policemen over a N10,000 Phone he allegedly bought in the market, purported by police to have been stolen in Kaduna. He was 22.
Sofiyat Yekin, a nursing mother in Bodija Ibadan, Oyo State, was gunned down by a police while displaying their show of force while intimidating innocent youth in the area for extortion. She was 23.
Final year student Salisu Haruna, plunged to his death in a well in Ekpoma Edo State, while trying to escape the religious abduction by the special anti-cultist squad (SACS) that terrorizes the hostel he visited. He wasn’t found until days later. He was 23.
Mrs Kudirat was killed by the bullet of SARS operatives showing force and high handedness while chasing young boys perceived indiscriminately by them to be yahoo boys.
There are many others shot in the head in public, and several okada riders & bus drivers killed over bribes. Studies also have shown that over 2000 persons have been killed extrajudicially in the past 10years by the police without any closure on the cases and a plethora of cases of abduction and unjust incarceration without charges running into thousands across Nigeria. Suffice to say that the abuse of human rights in Nigeria is becoming a culture.
It is helpful to think about what keeps criminals under control in our society. Ask any sane police officer globally: it is not the police and the courts who keep criminals at bay. It is the society as a whole. It is the ordinary people who call the police when they hear a problem starting. It is the ordinary people who trust the police and cooperate with them to bring criminals to justice. That public trust is held by a thin line which only works when it is backed up by the vast majority of ordinary people.
This, by the way, is why police brutality is so damaging to law and order in our society. If ordinary people lose trust in the police, they wonʼt call and they wonʼt cooperate. If they fear that calling the police to solve crime could result in their neighborsʼ kids being shot dead, they wonʼt call. And they also wonʼt cooperate in more serious cases. Without community back up, the “thin line of trust” starts to feel very thin indeed. And criminals become bolder.
Today, Citizens are violated by Police every 45minutes if not less across Nigerian major cities. Only a fraction of these human rights abuses is reported. Of the reported cases 90% border on armed robbery and kidnapping for ransom using police stations as bases or driving round in circles on our highways while inflicting horrendous physical and psychological damages to their innocent victims.
A wise man once said our adaptability can be both a blessing and a curse, a prolonged look upon wonder and abomination begins to make them mundane. The system, however, is not broken, it was built that way leading to the current spiraling execrable standards of the modern day when compared to what is obtainable in saner climes.
We have journeyed from domesticity to embracing primitivism under the oppression and impunity of a vile and anachronistic police system. But each time the people demand accountability, it is often met with media costuming and prevarication. They begin to mention training, addition of tags and dramatic reactions that simply move furniture around without any definite, effective or meaningful restructuring.
A Yoruba apothegm aptly states that it is not he who was struck by a reckless driver that makes mental note of the registration number of the vehicle. Those ignorantly chanting the litotes of Police with the suggestion of reformation of SARS must understand that the culture of impunity of SARS has been ingrained in the system thus becoming a metastasized cancer which will require a total shutdown before it destroys the entire police system which can still be salvaged if we act fast enough.
In this situation where our policing system has been hijacked by ethnic brigade as balkanized, with bold unconscionable pronouncements by the police on the daily, just to maintain the status quo of the ecology of their delicate organized crime syndicate, it clearly demonstrates the ominous tragedy that lies in wait.
We must not culture cancer but ensure it is severed (EndSARS), while we intensively and surgically focus on a holistic reform of the police system (ReformPoliceNG).
A government that cannot protect the lives and properties of her citizens lacks legitimacy. As likened to a man who procures a fast horse at the expense of feeding his children…thus stripped of his income by a sane and conscious society.
In the face of overwhelming statistical evidence, There is no point disagreeing with the smallest expenditure of intelligence as the scenario playing before our very eyes have demonstrably proven to be ominous.
We must understand that the clamor, if unattended, will soon become a movement that’ll clear everything in her path!
#EndSARS #ReformPoliceNG thus has become a platform that bridges these institutional gaps through Pouring the angst of millions into a symbolic cause using engagements via art, science & technology.
The people have built a formidable united front on this regardless of their diversity across Craze, Creed, Clan or Class because based on the trajectory of events, anyone could be NEXT.
We need a complete overhaul of the institution so that recommendations of reforms can be implemented. Beginning from the repeal and replacement of the Police Act 1943, (of which the Movement of the people have pushed with the compliance of the legislature through the second reading. http://punchng.com/police-reform-bill-goes-through-second-reading-in-the-senate/amp/?__twitter_impression=true
Major areas to focus is on recruitment, vetting and reverting, discipline, training, equipment, logistics, welfare, regimentation, career development, leadership, etc. The institution needs to focus on public service (demilitarization of the police and democratizing same). There must minimum acceptable standard that must be maintained professionally. Reforms take time, and there is no other option.
It is time we put a premium on the lives of all Nigerians. The world’s most valuable economic resource remains Humanity. We are all a bullet away from being a Hashtag. These are humble recommendations based on the audits in the here and now rebus sic stantibus (as it stands) and anything short of this will warrant a push for a bill to arm Nigerians based on some criteria and qualifications.
These are the issues and recommendations void of ‘the we against them’ game being touted by unpatriotic and dangerously arrogant, emotionally stunted, inaniloquent hirelings and felons within the police structure transfixed and flummoxed in a perpetual oxymoronic state of mind within a chaotic Game of contradiction, where faith unfaithful kept them falsely true.
Ignorance is the farm in which all forms of corruption and tyranny develop. Within it, all forms of extremism and violence are propagated.- Imam Tawhidi
Segun Awosanya is the convener of #EndSARS and tweets @segalink