By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja.
The Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris has bemoaned the pace at which police funds are being attached through court garnishees over unlawful conducts of some men and officers of the force, especially in the gross violation and abuses of human rights of the citizenry.
He lamented that the police has been paying dearly for the misconduct of its men through court actions and award of millions of Naira against police and in favour of their victims.
He however reiterated the commitment of the Nigerian Police Force, particularly under his watch to the observance of the rule of law and respect for the rights of all Nigerians in the discharge of their legitimate duties.
Idris also warned men and officers who are in the habit of operating outside the limit of the law to desist from doing so, as the force he stressed would not hesitate to deal with them accordingly.
He spoke at a workshop on the Effective Implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, organized by the Centre for Sociology Legal Studies in collaboration with the Nigeria Police.
“On my assumption of office as the Inspector General of Police, I stated in very clear terms, that this police administration under my leadership will operate within the mantra of the rule of law and respect for the rights of all Nigerians, irrespective of religion, ethnic, social or political inclinations while performing our constitutional duties of protecting lives and property”, he said.
While commending centre for organizing the workshop Idris acknowledged that the ACJA is an important legislation because of its innovative provisions.
He said the act will eliminate all forms of illegal conducts that are not in conformity with the police creed in all police stations and formations. He said some of those illegal conducts include “Unlawful arrest, prolonged detentions without order of court, torture, Commercialization of bail process, incivility to members of the public and victimization”.
“These are conducts which give rise to court judgments against the police and the consequent garnisheeing of our accounts”, he added.
The IGP disclosed that as part of efforts at ensuring that police officers operates within the limits of the police creed, the force has embarked on numerous training that would imbibe in them a culture where the rule of law firms the bedrock of their actions and activities.
He acknowledged that the act imposes new responsibility on the Nigerian police force, and therefore used the opportunity to adviser policeman to shun corruption and the abuse of the rights of the citizens while performing their duties, adding that the police will not hesitate in welding the big stick against defaulters.
Also speaking, President, Centre for Socio-legal Studies, Professor Yemi Akinseye-George SAN noted that the workshop which is been done in collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force is a signal that the ACJA enjoys the highest level of support from the foremost law enforcement agency in the country, the Nigeria Police.
He said the physical presence of the IGP coupled with several D. I. Happy and other highly placed officers was a clear indication that the force not only shares the concern of the administration about the shortcomings of the criminal justice system but also places utmost importance on building the capacity of their personnel to ensure compliance with the constitution and other relevant laws of the land.
He appealed to the Federal government to pay more attention to the police if it must succeed in bringing about genuine change in the country. “One of the fastest ways to bring about meaningful change in the country is to strengthen the police and transform them into a powerful agent of change”, he said.
He also enjoined the National Assembly to pass the National Police trust Fund Bill into law as soon as possible so that the police can be better equipped to help the nation overcome the twin monster of corruption and insecurity which according to him, constitutes serious barriers to the county’s economic development.