Human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, and the executive secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Mr Tony Ojukwu yesterday called for the immediate eradication of parade of suspects by police in Nigeria.
Falana and Ojukwu who spoke during the inauguration ceremony of the hearing of south west zone of the Presidential Panel on SARS Reform (2018) on alleged human rights violation by the SARS, specifically pointed out that the parade negates the principle of fair hearing.
The panel headed by Mr Ojukwu is expected to look into level of rights infraction by SARS across the country, with the mandate among others to, “investigate the veracity of allegations of human rights abuses and abuse of power made against SARS within the last two years.”
Falana who gave a keynote address, said given the right opportunity and equipments, the Nigeria police will perform wonderfully well beyond imaginations.
Falana who called for more recruitments into the police, requested that the government should also remove all policemen guarding privileged individuals to make the police available for their civic duties.
‘We should all known that if giving right environment our police will successfully police the country. What the commission may want to look at is that the country is under police. It is less than 200,000 are actually police that are actually policing over 200 million Nigerians because the rest of them (police) are guarding and protecting top public officers and some rogues.
” The IGP must take cognisance of this. Some men of questionable character go about five policemen. They are the people who are to be questioned. We need more police men and women to police our country. ”
The lawyer called for the cooperation of Nigerians to expose any infraction on human rights of Nigerians in whatever form, while urging the panel to extend its work to the violations committed by other security outfits.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of NHRC, Mr Ojukwu said the government did well by initiating the panel, which he said is to strengthen the statutory work of his commission, adding that the investigation will reshape the activities of SARS and allow probity into their operations.
Noting that the panel draws its membership from key strata of the society including the NHRC, Police Service Commission, Public Complaints Commission, Civil Society Groups and professional bodies , including the Nigerian Bar Association.
He said the public hearing is to increase access of Nigerians to the services of the commission and to seek for accountability where there is evidence to indicate that any officer(s) of SARS have been involved in acts amounting to human rights violation in the course of carrying out their law enforcement duties.
The NHRC boss also pointed out that in spite of the excesses of SARS, the government needs to do more by equipping the force with modern facilities and instruments to conduct adequate investigations into criminal cases without impugning on Nigerians’ rights.
Represented at the ceremony were the Lagos Chief Judge, Justice Opeyemi Oke by the administrative judge, Justice Kazeem Alogba, the Attorney General of Lagos State, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, the Inspector General of Police, the state commissioner of police, Mr Imohim Edgar.
The comptroller of prison, Lagos State Command, Mr Tunde Ladipo, the Commandant, the NSDC, Lagos State Command, Tajudeen Balogun were also present .