Nigeria Police has been in the news for the past three weeks due to extrajudicial killings. Campusaga snooped to Ogun state on Sunday, April 21, 2019, to keep you posted on the Easter celebration, but the news took another direction. Campusaga was at Iyana Coker, a bus stop at about 4:25 pm, Nigerian Time, and got closer to know why people gathered around policemen, later identified to be Intervention Squad of Zone 2 Command around Ifo. They had come to arrest a man suspected to be in illegal possession of a firearm.
The crowd must have gathered inquisitively, and behold there was shooting in the air by the police. People scampered for safety but Akeem Akinsanya, a motorcycle electrician of about 25years became the victim of the indiscriminate shooting. He was shot dead. Many people were suspected injured as well.
To arrest officers that violated rules of engagement and commence investigations had been the approach by the police commissioners in Nigeria, and Bashir Makama, the commissioner of Police, Ogun state didn’t fall short of the job functions. He ordered the immediate arrest of the officers in Ifo, to be brought to Abeokuta for serious disciplinary actions.
Would the men of Nigeria Police remain recalcitrant of extrajudicial killings? This had again added to their extrajudicial killing of all time, after the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, had promised he would reposition the dwindling image of Police.
It would be recalled that on the early hours of March 20, 2019, Ogar Jumbo, an officer of the Nigeria Securities and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) was beaten up and killed by the police at Nyanya, Abuja for violating traffic rules. Ogar was in uniform and pleaded he was rushing to drop his children to school. His wife was also in the vehicle. The pleading of the wife and children could not stop Ogar Jumbo from being killed.
Then on March 31, 2019, Kolade Johnson was killed by an officer of the Special Anti Cultism squad (SACS) of the Lagos State Police command on arrest in Mangoro areas of the state. Kolade Johnson was reported to have gone to viewing centre to watch football.
Ada Ifeanyi, 20 years, was killed by five officers of the Nigeria Police in Ajegunle, Lagos state on April 13, 2019. And a week after, Akeem lost his life in the hands of Nigeria Police.
Police in Nigeria may not be people’s friend as preached. Unlawful arrest and detention of citizens, granting bails are never free irrespective of circumstance, collecting peck and bribe along the roads and wherever they can, harassments and intimidation, extrajudicial killings, general unprofessional approaches could not be the way to be people’s friend. Sometimes the police issue arraignment notices to citizens without proper investigation and charges. Most of their suits are always attacked by preliminary objections in courts.
Nigeria Senate had a few weeks ago, passed a police reform bill, 2019. Nigerians are still in doubt if the impending police reforms would do anything to change the orientation of Nigeria Police and rules of engagement in the use of firearms. Increase of salaries in recent time for the police alone by the Nigeria Government through the efforts of the Police Service Commission could not take them off the road for collecting bribes. Prayers of Nigerians are not short of Government intervention for a serious reform that must include rights-based police, police accountability in the Commonwealth, and respect for law and human rights.