Leading Civil society organisation- Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) has urged the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, to perish the idea of wasting scarce public fund on setting up a presidential committee on police reform because the obligations to comprehensively reform the nation’s ailing police force, is not a ‘FOOD-IS-READY’ assignment for political jobbers.
In a statement by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and made available to NIM, HURIWA urged President Ahmed Tinubu to task his cabinet level officials such as the two ministers for police affairs, the Federal Attorney General and minister of Justice, and such other ministers whose official duties dovetails into national security including the National security Adviser Malam Nuhu Ribadu to jointly, without spending extra-budgetary funds, to collate and table the multifaceted and multiplicity of reports on police reforms written and presented to the Nigerian state since 1999 to 2015.
The statement said the Association viewed the setting up of the Presidential committee as recently announced, as another attempt to spend public funds for some politicians to embark on a meaningless voyage of discovery and a jamboree, in the guise of working on the so-called comprehensive police reforms, when in fact, government is in possession of very large volumes of multifaceted reports compiled by eminent scholars on security including technocrats, erstwhile Inspectors General of police and top rated civil rights practitioners.
It pointed out that all the Federal administrations right from President Olusegun Obasanjo to President Goodluck Jonathan, had set up committees on police reforms just as the 9th session of the National Assembly recommended the setting up of State Police, saying that it seemed the far reaching measures to upgrade policing standards in Nigeria, had been thrown into the dustbins of Federal government archives.
HURIWA recalled that the governor of Bauchi state, Bala Mohammed, had twenty hours ago, announced the setting up of a police reform committee while speaking to State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the Nigeria police council chaired by Tinubu on Tuesday, where the council confirmed Kayode Egbetokun as the substantive inspector-general of police (IGP).
The statement adds “according to Mohammed, members of the committee include Ibrahim Geidam, minister of police affairs; Nuhu Ribadu, national security adviser (NSA); Solomon Arase, chairman of the police service commission (PSC); and AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, governor of Kwara and chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
“The confirmation of the IGP prompted further discussion on the Nigeria Police Force and the president has formed a special committee to look at all the gaps in Nigeria’s 1999 constitution with a view to bring harmony and synergy, closing technology and manpower to the Nigerian police force,”
“The committee comprises the minister of police affairs, NSA, chairman of PSC, and the chairman of the NGF. They will work together with a view to make sure that the Nigeria Police is reformed” the statement added.
HURIWA also quoted governor of Ogun state, Dapo Abiodun, as saying that the police council observed that no meaningful reforms have taken place in the police since its creation in 1861, where he also added that the committee would develop ideas that would lead to reforms that would characterize the new Nigeria police force.
“Besides, the Ogun State governor expressed the following views: “The need for community-based policing, the need to ensure that required budgetary provision is provided for community-based policing which has been proven to be very effective.The issue of funding also came up and this committee of four to five people will look at these issues that borders on reforms.
“We observed that there have been no meaningful reforms since the establishment of the Nigeria police force.”
HURIWA however condemned the Federal government for setting up the stage again for Nigerians to be taken on a merry-go-round empty committee process, when there are within the reach of the office of the President, a lot of documented recommendations on police reforms which only requires the political will on the part of the Federal government and the National Assembly to implement the police reforms, including the required constitutional reforms to strengthen policing in Nigeria and to compel the police to enforce the year 2020 Nigerian police Act which contains large doses of human rights demands for accountability by the police.
The rights group also faulted the governor of Ogun State for saying that much reforms have been carried out within the police, reminding him that the new police Act represents a profound attempt to ensure that policing in Nigeria follows the 21st century law based policing methodologies, adding if the police Act is implemented holistically, policing in Nigeria will meet global best practices.
HURIWA however observed the need to amend relevant sections of the Nigerian Constitution to strengthen and reform policing in modern day Nigeria of the 21st century.