Lawmakers ‘ll no longer tolerate killings by Nigerian Police – Gbajabiamila

By AdvocateNews on 26/02/2020

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Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, warned, Tuesday, that lawmakers would no longer condone extra-judicial killings by personnel of the Nigeria Police Force.

He was reacting to the killing of a Remo Stars Football Club player, Tiyamiyu Kazeem by policemen in Sagamu.

The speaker issued the warning at a public hearing on “Repositioning the Nigerian Police For Enhanced Service Delivery,” organized by the House Committee on Police Affairs.

He lamented that though the Police were the closest law enforcement agency to the public, several arbitrary killings from the force, had marred partnership between the two sides, recalling with lamentation the killing of Kazeem.

“More than any other institution of the state, it is the police force that relates to the citizens daily. In many communities across Nigeria, the Police Force is the only representative of the Nigerian state, and the connection between our citizens and the state is often defined by their interactions with the Nigerian Police.

“It is unfortunate and entirely unacceptable that the relationship between the police and many of these communities is now defined by fear, mutual antagonism and an absolute loss of faith in the ability of the police to protect and to serve.

“In the last few days, we have all witnessed as the city of Sagamu in Ogun State has been unsettled by an orgy of violence resulting from the extra-judicial killing of a young footballer by officers of the Nigerian Police. Citizens who gathered to protest this killing soon found themselves at the receiving end of police bullets,” he stated.

Gbajabiamila also cited several other cases of police brutality, warning that the House has had enough.

“This is not an isolated incident. We are daily inundated with news reports of interactions between citizens and the police, resulting in the injury and death of those citizens.

“Reports of police harassment of young people have become so rampant that they barely even break through the news cycle, except when public anger becomes so great that it results in a breakdown of law and order.

"We can no longer stand this, and we will not. This House of Representatives has a responsibility to speak for our citizens and we will continue to do so even when it is inconvenient.

“The first responsibility of the state to its citizens is to protect life and property. Everything else flows from this fundamental obligation,” adding that “when the agencies we rely on to serve this purpose become predatory, they lose the faith of the public and become incapable of delivering on this responsibility,” he said.

Minister fingers poor remuneration, others

In his submission at the hearing, the Minister of Police Affairs, Mr. Muhammad Dingyadi, blamed the lapses in policing in Nigeria on poor remuneration, inadequate personnel and equipment.

He said a Police force “with only 350,000 police officers to a population of over 200 million people, cannot effectively police the country.”

Though he pledged re-orientation of the force for more effective policing of the country, he also decried an acute lack of basic tools for effective service delivery.

Earlier, the Chairman of the House Committee on Police Affairs, Rep. Umar Kumo (APC-Gombe), complained of  poor civilian-police relations, blaming the Police for their negative perception and attitude to an average citizen.

Posted 26/02/2020 06:31:54 AM


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