Ben Dunno, Warri
The Delta State branch of Committee for Defense of Human Rights (CDHR), has applauded the acting President Yemi Osinbajo for the directive to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to overhaul the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), describing it as a ‘step in the right direction’.
It, however, demanded that the directive should not be restricted to SARS alone as there are other units such as the IGP Special Tactical Squad, Federal Safer Highway Patrol team, Dragon Squad and Divisional Police units across the country that were neck deep in various acts of gross human rights abuses that needed to be reformed.
Delta State chairman of the CDHR, Comrade (Dr) Prince Kehinde Taiga, who stated this in a statement made available to newsmen, in Warri, on Thursday, also urged the acting president to direct the police chief to put an immediate halt to some unit heads and commanders in the police force using their personal accounts to extort money from the members of the public as part of the ongoing reform exercise.
The body also noted it has proof of some police unit officers who use their personal accounts to extort money from their suspects especially within Delta State.
The CDHR lamented the inhuman treatment meted out to some suspects who refused to comply to the officers request to pay brides to personal accounts.
At the various state level, the CDHR chairman appealed to the police chief to equally direct all state Commissioners of Police to ensure strict compliance to the rights of suspects in police detention at the Divisional Units as provided for by the Administrative Criminal Justice law where suspects cannot be detained more than 24 hours with access to lawyer and a telephone call.
According to Taiga, “It is only when all the aforementioned aspects of the police force both at the state and federal level had been reformed that we can say the ongoing reform in the police is holistic and not just by addressing only an aspect of SARS while the rest areas where human rights abuses are prevalent are left untouched.
“We therefore want to use this medium to call on the Ag. President to still go a step further by ensuring the restructuring of the Nigerian Police Force to conform with international best practice in the policing of the nation”.