A civil society organization; HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has warned that the Nigerian police Force must be comprehensively and surgically reformed and re-oriented fundamentally to embrace the traditional constitutional mandate of enforcement of law and order, prevention of crimes and criminality and deliver quality security related services for the corporate benefits of Nigeria or the nation stands the risk of falling into anarchy, widespread disorder and total breakdowns of law and order in the nearest future.
HURIWA specifically condemned the high level of Police professional indiscipline and the ways and manners that the officers of the Police from the office of the Inspector General of Police have delved into civil land related disputes and land speculations in Enugu State, which has become the new normal for some top police officers who regularly invade communities experiencing legal challenges with land ownership in Enugu to exploit some parties against the others rather than allow the due process of the law in line with the Land Use Act of 1978, which vests ownership and authority over all lands in a given state to the governors. The Rights group said it has received a presentation from some Enugu State communities alleging plots to frame up innocent persons with alleged land dispute related fatalities.
HURIWA has also expressed sadness that some police officers have misused their powers to get involved in extortion and other criminality, which has become a hydra headed monster that needed to be confronted with a Presidential Declaration of a State of policing emergency so the Federal government would implement concrete measures to re-Professionalise the Nigerian Police Force and to make the agencies put in place to check professional misconduct in the Nigerian Police Force to work effectively and efficiently.
Worried by the rapid decline in professional discipline by officers and men of the Nigerian Police Force, the Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group; HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has in a media Statement by the National Coordinator; Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director; Miss Zainab Yusuf challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately declare a national state of POLICING EMERGENCY.
More so, to work with the National Assembly and the organised civil society community in the Country to fashion out the needed legislative amendments to the enabling law setting up the Police Service Commission (PSC) to effectively enable the agency to live up to the mandates of instilling strict disciplinary action against erring police officers and to redirect the Nigerian Police Force towards greater productivity, Professional excellence and development and efficient delivery of security services to benefit the Nigerian people and the Country as a whole.
“HURIWA is worried about incessant complaints from Communities in Enugu State about allegations of MISCARRIAGE OF INVESTIGATION, ABUSE OF POLICE POWERS, INTIMIDATION, OPPRESSION AND THE USE OF THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE AS A CONDUIT FOR ILLEGALITY ALLEGEDLY BY DSP JOHN ONYIMA AND TEAM OF IRT OPERATIVES.
“HURIWA has been briefed by communities and we have received a presentation by a firm of legal practitioners and solicitors whose services have been retained by Umunnugwu and Ndiaga viillages of Ugwuaji-Awkunanaw of Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State both of whom and upon whose express mandate and instruction we forward this complaint to you.”
HURIWA disclosed that the petitioners informed the Rights group that: ” Their clients have found themselves constrained to forwarding this petition to you to bring to the knowledge of the Inspector General of Police; Mohammed Adamu about the alleged dastardly act of the team of operatives from IGP’s Intelligence Response Team under the leadership of DSP. John Onyima who notwithstanding the truth at his disposal vis-à-vis the fact that the said DSP John Onyima has previously concluded investigation into the killing of two people at Isiagu village in Ugwuaji-Awkunanaw community, has allegedly thrown every caution to the wind by embarking on a mass arrest of the people of Umunnugwu and Ndiaga villages under the guise that they are linked with the killing of the said people in Isiagu village.
The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) said it was briefed that sometime in the year 2012, our complainants jointly mapped out a layout from their ancestral land for the development of a residential estate which layout was mapped out and registered in the Enugu State Land Registry by a Surveyor, (name withheld) who due to the impecuniosity on the part of the complainants was given some plots of land as consideration for his work.”
HURIWA was also told as follows: “For reasons unknown to the complainants, the Surveyor never developed the plots of land given to him as compensation thereby creating an avenue for encroachment into the said plots by the youths of Isiagu village.
“It was against this encroachment into the Umunnugwu/Ndiaga layout by the youths of Isiagu that the youths of Umunnugwu/Ndiaga youths rose in opposition and which action led to a clash between the youths of Umunnugwu/Ndiaga and the Isiagu villages”.
“In view of the clash between the youths of the aforementioned communities and those of the Isiagu village, the complainants said to be being law abiding by their legal team, reported the incident to the Intelligence Response Team, Asaba which in turn sent their operatives to the scene of the clash for investigation.
“Our clients further informed us and we verily believe them as true that upon the arrival of the said IRT team of investigators from Asaba to Ugwuaji-Awkunanaw community, the youth of Isiagu village did in the broad day light allegedly attack the team of investigators by sporadically shooting at the said team and which action only left the IRT team of investigators from Asaba with the sole option of allegedly opening fire on their attackers in self-defence.
“Our client said the lawyers, further informed us that it was during the exchange of gun fire between the youths of Isisagu village and the IRT Team from Asaba that two people from the Isiagu youths were hit by the bullets from the IRT Team resulting to the death of the said duo.”
HURIWA recalled that the communities specifically alleged that the incident has been thoroughly investigated by the team of IRT investigators under the leadership of DSP John Onyima during which investigation the entire incidents leading to the death of the two youths of Isiagu village were presented to the team and corroborated by the officers attached to IRT Asaba, Delta State command who were physically present in the scene during the exchange of fire between the IRT and the youths of Isiagu village.
HURIWA said thus, “Notwithstanding the conclusion of the investigation into the cause of death of the two youths of Isiagu village by DSP John Onyima’s led team which included an autopsy on the bodies of the deceased, DSP John Onyima working in concert with the Isiagu village has recently allegedly initiated another round of investigation into the death of the said youths by making a fresh allegation that the elders of Umunnugwu/Ndiaga villages did together with the said sponsored the killing of the said Isiagu youths.
“For this new allegation, DSP John Onyima allegedly instructed another team of investigators from the IRT, Abuja to Umunnugwu and Ndiaga villages to hunt for the elders of the two villages and which hunt has resulted to the arrest of the surveyor and others who were arrested by the said team at the instance or command allegedly of DSP John Onyima on the 10th day of June, 2020 and taken to Abuja on the false and baseless allegation of sponsoring the killing of the two youths of Isiagu village even when the circumstances of the death of the said youths are allegedly well known to DSP John Onyima”.
“It is therefore in the appreciation of the above development as well as the fact of the concluded investigation into the death of the youth which revealed the cause of their death and also the fact of the manifest neglect by the IRT to investigate the youth of Isiagu village and recover the weapons with which they attacked the IRT operatives from Asaba, Delta State that our clients believe that there is more to the actions of DSP John Onyima than meets the eyes.”
“In view of the above therefore, it is our clients’ prayer that that the investigation into the cause of death of the youths of Isiagu village be taken away from the IRT to another neutral section of the Nigeria Police Force so as to forestall any complexities on the part of the IRT team of investigators led by DSP John Onyima.”
HURIWA stated that the communities wish to inform the IGP that they are also praying that the nation’s police chief should use his good offices to come to the assistance of the entire Umunnugwu and Ndiaga villages who though are innocent of the murder of the youths of Isiagu village have jointly borne the brunt of investigation into the said murder.
“Again and most important is the fact that the cause of death of the said Isiagu youths being the exchange of gun fire with the IRT team of investigators from Asaba, Delta State should not be swept under the carpet as that appears to be the only avenue of establishing the innocence of both Umunnugwu and Ndiaga villages with respect to the death of the said youths of Isiagu vilage.
“Above all, it is also our clients’ humble prayer that DSP John Onyima should be called to order as his activities in these villages are suggestive of some underlying interest which run contrary to his duties as a police officer. HURIWA is therefore tasking both the IGP and the Police Service Commission to investigate this serious allegation of miscarriage of justice and misuse of Police by the aforementioned police officer to stave off the accumulation of bad blood and bad image for the Nigerian Police Force”.
HURIWA has also asked the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu to investigate the mishandling of an allegation of rape made by a young girl who called out the popular Musician; Mr. D’Banj on Twitter that he raped her in an hotel in Lekki in 2018, and D’Banj’s response was to get the IGP’s Intelligence Response Team, headed by ACP Kwari to swoop in.
Information reaching HURIWA stated that there was no certainty if Assistant Commissioner of Police Kwari was together with the team when they arrested the young girl on Tuesday evening and kept her overnight at their office in Shodipo -Ikeja. “We hereby urge the IGP to save the NPF from these huge cases of indiscipline and gross misconduct by the officers and men of the Nigerian Police Force”.
HURIWA WANTS the IGP to investigate the allegation made in a social media posts as follows: “D’Banj and his manager Damien Okoroafor had gone ahead to grab this girl again this morning (Yesterday Thursday) after being released by the police, and they allegedly took her to an address in Lekki. At some point her phone wasn’t going through. The girl didn’t know where they were taking her to, but our colleagues used GPRS to track her phone and get the coordinates. SUCH IMPUNITY.
“If D’banj says he is innocent of the girl’s accusations and call out on Twitter, why go to these lengths. Why “kidnap” this girl? Why not sue her for libel or whatever and have your day in court. Why resort to extra judicial means? The young girl is safe now. In the custody of colleagues. She is so traumatised and just wants all these to end. She wants to leave it to GOD. But NO survivors of sexual and gender-based violence MUST NOT BE MUZZLED. IMPUNITY MUST STOP.”
HURIWA is worried by the emerging reports of the story of the seven policemen that were allegedly involved in armed robbery that were reportedly killed in a gun duel with the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Delta state.
HURIWA said that report said a police sergeant in Bayelsa that was attached to the armoury command has also been linked to the incident, and as being arrested and transferred to the police headquarters in Abuja for his alleged involvement in the supply of weapons to the murdered policemen for robbery just as it is alleged that the Commissioner for Police in Bayelsa State, Nkereuwem Akpan, reportedly led a team of policemen to the State Command in Delta to retrieve the bodies of the seven policemen killed during the shootout.
These allegations must be transparently investigated and measures put in place to forestall the frequent involvement of armed police officers in armed robbery and other nefarious activities that have dented the global image of the Nigerian Police Force.
HURIWA is therefore of the considered position that this is the right time for President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to declare a National State of Policing Emergency in Nigeria to curb the growing excesses and declining state of professionalism amongst the Police officers.