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A civil society organisation (CSO), has impressed it upon the national assembly to investigate the police in respect of alleged abuse of their prosecutorial powers. Going by Due Process Advocates Foundation (DPA), its call for the probe is coming after TheCable reported about bribery at Pedro Police Station in Lagos State.
Ifeanyi Calistus, DPA information director, in a statement on Thursday, said the report highlighted “some institutional failures that have aided and even facilitated the police problem”, stressing that the courts which ought to check the excesses of the police were complicit.
Said he: “The extraordinary work of Fisayo Soyombo highlights some institutional failures that have aided and even facilitated the police problem, such as the failure of the courts to control police abuses and the failure of the bar to checkmate and vigorously advocate for the rights of victims.
“Further, it highlights the absence of adequate internal controls within the police force, such as ethical control and effective rules of engagement.
“Normally, the Nigerian courts should be able to check the excesses of the police in two major ways: vigorous enforcement of fundamental rights and effective application and observance of due process standards as contained in sections 35 and 36 of the constitution.
“Unfortunately, the courts seem to have abandoned these standards and taken positions that amount to complicity in the abuse of rights. This is evident in the fact that over 80 percent of the inmates in our correctional facilities all over the country are awaiting trial. This was discussed in greater detail in DPA’s policy statement for October 2019.
“Equally, every indication shows that the organised bar and individual lawyers have been unable to challenge the abuses by the police. More and more lawyers have been intimidated by the police. Most lawyers are terrified by the prospect of going to visit their clients in detention centers controlled by various police units. And with a judiciary that increasingly rubber-stamps every police action, the individual lawyer is totally helpless.
“The Nigerian Police Force has repeatedly failed to come up with standard ethical and security doctrines that police officers would follow. DPA has sent a petition to the national assembly calling for wide-ranging measures aimed at curtailing police corruption in Nigeria.”
Calistus said the continued incarceration of Emeka Ugwuonye, DPA founder, is because he criticised the police.
Said Calistus: “The Founder of DPA, Barrister Emeka Ugwuonye, is still in detention based on a fabricated murder charge by the police, which was calculated to prevent the disclosure of the worst police corruption and atrocities in Nigerian history”.