19th August, 2010
A non government organisation, Human Right Watch, has appealed to the police authorities to have a change of attitude in the performance of their duties.
Addressing journalists in Lagos, a Human Right Watch researcher on Nigeria, Africa Division, Eric Cuttschuss, lamented the harm done to citizens by the police and called for a reorientation.
Speaking on the theme of the conference: ”Corruption and Human Rights Abuses by the Nigeria Police,” Cuttschuss highlighted a number of problems Nigerians encountered daily in their interaction with the police.
â€œYou can imagine the discovery of 1,353 Nigeria police checkpoints across the states, especially the Southwest, that motorists, both commercial and private, face before they get to their various destinations and some 34,000 Nigerians killed outside the law, according to finding and research,” he stated.
He explained that extortion, embezzlement and other corrupt practices by policemen undermine the fundamental human rights of Nigerians in two key ways. â€œFirst, the most direct effect of police corruption on ordinary citizens stems from the myriad of human rights abuses committed by police officers in the process of extorting money.
”The police frequently extort money from the public at taxi stands, market places, or while going about their daily lives. This has led to a high level of corruption in the country,” he stated.
In his own presentation, the representative of the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN), Okechukwu Nwomguma, said â€œthe Nigeria Police has a long history of engaging in unprofessional, corrupt and criminal conducts.
â€”Suntan Yewande & Lucky Lawal