A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AFTER A PUBLIC TRIBUNAL ON POLICE ABUSE IN NIGERIA ORGANISED BY NETWORK ON POLICE REFORM IN NIGERIA (NOPRIN) IN OLLABORATION WITH THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (NHRC) AND NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON TORTURE IN ABUJA, 10 – 11 JUNE, 2010.

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE PUBLIC TRIBUNAL ON POLICE ABUSES IN NIGERIA ORGANISED BY NETWORK ON POLICE REFORM IN  NIGERIA (NOPRIN) IN COLLABORATION WITH NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (NHRC) AND NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON TORTURE (NCoT) IN OWERRI, IMO STATE FOR THE SOUTHEAST REGION ON AUGUST 19 AND 20, 2010.

NATIONAL SUMMIT ON CRIME AND POLICING IN NIGERIA ORGANIZED BY THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE IN COLLABORATION WITH THE NETWORK ON POLICE REFORM IN NIGERIA (NOPRIN) AT THE ABUJA SHERATON HOTEL, APRIL 26-29, 2004.

Against the backdrop of concerns expressed by the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and well meaning Nigerians about perceived rise in violent crime; and the need for stake holders on safety, security and justice in the country to review current steps being taken by the police and the federal government in responding to priority crimes and issues in policing, the Nigeria Police Force in collaboration with the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) and support from MacArthur Foundation, organized a four-day National Summit on Crime and Policing in Nigeria, at the Abuja Sheraton Hotel and Towers, from April 26-29, 2004.
The summit, which was attended by such dignitaries as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Ufot Ekaete, who represented president Obasanjo; the Minister of Police Affairs, Chief Broderick Bozimo; Permanent Secretary Ministry of Justice, Prof. Ignatius Ayua; The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun; representative of the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Justice Olatawura; armed forces service chiefs, business leaders, notable academics, civil society leaders and donor Agencies, drew the participation of over a hundred stakeholders on safety, security and justice in the country.

: : The participants while:

Noting that violent crimes such as armed robbery, political-assassination, ethno-religious violence, human trafficking, rape, domestic violence, assault and child abuse, seriously affect the physical and psychological well-being of all residents in Nigeria and collectively constitute the greatest threat to safety and security in the country;
· Recognizing that security of life and property, and welfare of the citizens are the most primary responsibility of governments in modern society and therefore deserve topmost priority attention by government at all levels in the country;
· Affirming that the Nigeria Police Force is the agency of the state constitutionally and statutorily charged with the responsibility of preventing and detecting crime, apprehending offenders, preserving law and order, and protecting life and property of everyone in Nigeria, including those who reside in the country’s numerous borders with neighboring countries;
· Appreciating that for the Nigeria Police Force to be efficient and effective in discharging its primary responsibilities, it needs the partnership of the communities it serves and the cooperation of other security agencies in the area of acquisition and sharing of criminal intelligence and institutional resources;
· Realizing that for the citizens to be forthcoming in collaborating with the Nigeria Police Force, police services needed to discharged with courtesy and a balance maintained between necessity for vigorous measures against crime and respect for the due process safeguards of criminal suspects;
· Noting that the absence of an institutional framework and standardized method of data collection for crime information management have seriously affected the ability of the police and other law enforcement agencies to produce reliable official statistics on crime;
Identified the following priority areas for urgent attention by the following stakeholders on safety, security and justice in Nigeria:

: : Federal Government

The federal government should:

· Address the economic, social and political roots of violent crime in Nigeria by investing more vigorously in social crime prevention and in finding peaceful solutions to the discontent arising from the 2003 general elections and the recently conducted local government elections. These would make its current policy on increasing policing capacity more effective in improving the safety and security perceptions of the people.
· Establish a National Institute For Crime Prevention and Control. The proposed institute should be responsible for conducting and coordinating research on crime and criminality in Nigeria, in order to assist the police and other law enforcement agencies with reliable information and statistics on crime that would enable the formulation of appropriate and rational policies on crime prevention and control in the country. The Institute, when established should be of equivalent status with those already in existence such as the National Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, the Nigerian Institute for International affairs, the Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, War College etc.
· Provide adequate budgetary allocation for the implementation of community policing in Nigeria and for such other important police operations as the taskforce on retrieval of illegal weapons, joint border patrol and Operation Fire-for-Fire.

: : National Assembly

The National Assembly should:

Pass without further delay the pending Police Trust Fund Bill, which when enacted into law would oblige stakeholders on safety and security in Nigeria to contribute to a common trust fund for effective funding of the Nigeria Police Force.
· Amend section 215 of the 1999 Constitution, with a view to creating multiple constituencies for police accountability and control in Nigeria, through appointment processes of the IGP that would involve the President recommending names of at least three qualified Senior Police Officers for thorough screening by the senate, which would in turn approve one of them as the Inspector General of Police.
· Create through Legislation tenure of office for the Inspector General of Police that would make it difficult for the government in power to remove him or her arbitrarily. This means that the Post of IGP should be insulated from partisan political interference.
· Review the Police Act and the Public Order act with a view to abrogating provisions in the acts that are in conflict with Nigeria’s obligations under international human rights law. Some of these include discriminatory provisions against women in the Police Act and restrictions on the constitutional rights of citizens to peaceful procession and assembly in the Public Order Act.
· Provide a legal status for the implementation of community policing in Nigeria, which would make it difficult for successive Inspectors General of Police or Minister of Police Affairs to scrap the implementation of the program without recourse to law.

: : Nigeria Police Force

The Nigeria Police Force should:

Make discipline a national functioning priority so as to enable the proactive use of disciplinary mechanisms in promoting a new police culture and establishment of minimum standards of policing. This requires funding, streamlining and effective coordination of the work of the various internal disciplinary mechanisms in the Force such as the Public Complaints Bureau (PCB), X-Squad, Human Rights Units, and IGP’s monitoring Unit, in order to make them more effective.
· Adopt more radical measures in addressing the issue of corruption and extortion involving some police personnel in the course of conducting stop and search operations.
· Engage the services of statisticians, criminologists and criminal justice experts to work with its Research and Planning Department in the development of a standardized method of crime information collection and analysis, and effective information management system, which would enable the use of statistics in planning, training, and deployment of its scarce resources as well as monitoring the behavior of its officials.
· Give serious attention to the recruitment, training and retraining of police personnel. Serious efforts should be made to ensure that only suitably qualified persons are recruited into the Police and their length of training should be considerably increased. What is more, serving police officers should be sent for refresher courses within and outside Nigeria to acquire more knowledge and professional skills for effective discharge of their duties.
· Establish Victim Support Units for vulnerable groups such as women and children in all police stations in country. The units would facilitate the reporting of many crimes of violence against vulnerable groups which had hitherto been neglected. They would also be responsible for offering counseling services to such victims.
· Consult with the Ministry of Police Affairs, Police Service Commission and the Ministry of Justice with a view to establishing an inter-agency committee with representation from civil society and other stakeholders, to coordinate efforts aimed at producing a national crime prevention strategy as requested by president Obasanjo in his address to the summit and to take forward the recommendations of the summit.

: : Business Community

The Business Community should:

Invest in making the environment in which they do business and declare profits safer. Such investment could apart from cash donation take the form of working in partnership with the Nigeria Police Force to improve the speed and effectiveness of police response to crimes; improvement of the management of police stations and service delivery to crime victims; sponsorship of local and national crime surveys; use of computer technology in bringing cases to trial; and development of programs that addresses the involvement of youths in crime. This could be done in collaboration with civil society groups.

: : Civil Society

Civil Society Groups Should:

Educate members of the public to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in the lawful discharge of their duties in Nigeria and to refrain from resenting the police when they are exercising their lawful powers in the course of legally permissible law enforcement activities.
· Sensitize members of the public about the existence of internal mechanisms for redressing police abuse of human rights such as the Police Public Complaints Bureau (PCB).
· Work with the Nigeria Police Force in the establishment of Victim support centers for vulnerable groups such as women and children in divisional police stations in Nigeria.
Donor Agencies
Donor agencies should:
· Increase funding support for policing reform, public safety and justice in Nigeria. These include funding the implementation plan of community policing in Nigeria and processes and mechanisms for improving police accountability in the country.

[TAFA. A. BALOGUN ] CFR, NPM, fwc
INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE.

INNOCENT CHUKWUMA
NATIONAL COORDINATOR, NOPRIN.

 

 

 

To contribute to engendering a safe, secure and just Society through an adequately trained, well equipped and motivated, professional and democratic Police Service that is respectful of human rights and enjoys the confidence and cooperation of the Community it serves .

  • To identify issues for reform in the Nigeria Police Force
  • To Provide opportunity for civil society input in the Police Reform process
  • To strategize on Police-community relation
  • To review efforts, prospects and problems encountered by NGOS on safety/security; and,
  • To create a platform for civil society involvement in safety and security issues in Nigeria

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