The speaker of the House of Representatives Hon Femi Gbajiabiamila said there is an urgent need for stakeholders to collaborate in order to pursue substantive reforms of the Nigeria police force to avoid further damages to the system.
He stated this when he received the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Tony Ojukwu Esq and his delegation in his office for a meeting scheduled to develop a legislation on police reforms.
Hon Gbajiabiamila said the provision of section 215(5) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended seems to give the police a level of immunity against their excesses, saying “there is a need to delete such clause”
He said the House has been proactive on the issues of police reforms and has made pronouncements and far reaching resolutions which were not achieved before the protest. He said the House under his leadership is determined to pursue the resolutions adding that police reforms and security is top on the legislative agender.
While congratulating the Nigerian youths for the role they played in ensuring police reforms he noted that collaboration with institutions like the NHRC is very critical considering the work that the Commission has done in ensuring an effective policing system in the country.
He said “the work of the government is the work of everybody, this is the moment to do something and the NHRC is critical in this partnership”.
The speaker further said that accountability is key in dealing with issues of police reforms, he revealed that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) has been requested to send the list of police personnel with complaints against them in the last five years as well as the list of the victims of brutality to the House for adequate compensation.
Earlier in his remark, the Executive Secretary of the Commission Tony Ojukwu Esq said the Commission is desirous to deliver on its mandate effectively but requires adequate funding to do so. He said activation of the human rights fund will go a long way to enable the commission carry out it functions without hinderance.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Commission said it is important to channel police funds to the appropriate officers who need such funds to carry out their work as this will avoid diversion of such funds by senior officer thereby making it difficult for the junior ones to carry out their work effectively. “I have funded an investigation at a police station myself because there are no facilities to work with, the situation is so bad that victims and their families are expected to use their money to get stationaries for investigation else the case is not attended to” he added.
He also stated the need to institutionalise an investigation panel that will hear the complaints of human rights violation by the police adding that this will make it easy to discipline indicted officers as well as compensate victims of human rights violations
FATIMAH AGWAI MOHAMMED
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS