The Lagos State Government says it is set to arraign four police officers over their alleged involvement in extrajudicial killings.
The officers were said to have been involved in the killing of two persons identified as Segun Sholaja and Ogheneovo Ebobo.
According to a statement issued on Wednesday by the Director, Public Affairs in the Ministry of Justice, Mr Kayode Oyekanmi, while an investigation had commenced into the case, fresh evidence came to light indicting the concerned Police Officers.
“In the course of investigation initiated by the Office of the Attorney General/ Commissioner for Justice fresh evidence came to light indicting the concerned Police Officers,” the statement read.
“This has necessitated a review of the earlier legal opinion issued, and the Attorney General/ Commissioner for Justice has directed that the suspects be charged for the killing of the deceased persons.
“The Attorney General/ Commissioner for Justice assures the general public of the resolve of his office to uphold the Rule of Law in the State”.
The Magistrate Court in Umuahia has adjourned the trial of a dismissed soldier, Lance Corporal Ajayi Johnson who allegedly killed a commercial rider, Chimaobi Nwaorgu.
In her ruling, the presiding judge, Linda Ugboaja, adjoined the matter till September 16 on the ground that it lacks the jurisdiction for murder case.
At the moment, the Nigeria Police says it is working assiduously to ensure that the case file gets to the Ministry of Justice and appropriate quarters for further action that would require that the case be transferred to the High Court for trial.
According to the spokesman for the Abia State Police Command, Geoffrey Ogbonna made this known to Channels Television on Wednesday.
“The case has been adjourned till September 16 to enable the police transfer the file to the appropriate quarters,” he said.
Meanwhile, the suspect has been remanded in prison custody in Afara area of the state.
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) has promised to prevent cases of extra-judicial killings by its personnel.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the Assistant Controller General of the corp, Jonathan Iyogho, said the agency plans to commence forensic and psychological profiling of its officers.
The assurance follows the recent murder of an officer of the corps by a colleague, Innocent Oshemi, who also killed an expatriate at the Lagos Deep Sea Offshore Logistics, (LADOL) in Lagos.
Oshemi, who is currently being prosecuted by the police is alleged to have on April 9 and killed his colleague, Mamman Wuyah and a Korean staff working at the fabrication and integration yard of Samsung heavy industries located in the free zone.
“The safety and security of lives and facilities is our mandate and we will continue to discharge that mandate professionally to the benefit of all. This will not happen again as measures have been put in place to stem such incidents,” he said.
Speaking further, the NSCDC boss denied the claim of the suspected killer that the corps is owing him some allowances, stressing that that the agency has put in place measures to prevent a reoccurrence as the safety of lives and properties falls within its mandate.
The acting Inspector General of Police, Mr Adamu Mohammed, has warned police personnel to shun activities that go against the mandates of the force, especially extra-judicial killing.
He gave the warning on Monday when he visited the Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, following the recent cases of extra-judicial killings recorded in the state.
“Recently, we have had some overzealous officers who went out of their way in the course of performing their duties; they shot a lady and she died and we felt that that is not acceptable,” the police boss was quoted as saying in a statement by the governor’s chief press secretary, Mr Habib Aruna.
He added, “It is unbecoming and I had to come down to talk to officers and men to remind them of their duties and to tell them that anybody that goes out of his way to commit extra-judicial killing, such a person is on his own and he has to face the wrath of the law.
“In this particular case, the officers that were involved have been arrested; they have been tried in our internal way of dealing with such issue and at the same time, they would be charged to court.”
The IGP said it was on record that police officers in the state have been performing creditably well.
He, however, decried the activities of those he said were a few unscrupulous ones denting the good work of others.
On the purpose of his visit, Mr Mohammed said, “I came to pay a courtesy visit to the governor because I am in Lagos State to see the officers and men of the Nigerian Police.
“I came to talk to them on good behaviour and to remind them of ethics of the job. We are to serve members of the public; we are not their masters, we are their servants.”
The police boss commended Governor Ambode for his support to the command and other security agencies in Lagos, saying many successes have been recorded in keeping the state safe.
According to him, the governor is the Chief Security Officer in the state and all his policies towards fighting crime have been implemented by the Nigerian Police Force.
Responding, Governor Ambode commended the IGP for taking it upon himself to promptly address the extra-judicial killings in the state personally.
He said the visit showed responsiveness and seriousness with which the issue was being handled by the police boss.
The governor said, “I want to commend the IG for this visit. Beyond the fact that this is a courtesy visit and like he has said, he is coming promptly to address the issue of extra-judicial killings that have actually taken place in the last few weeks.”
“So, for the IG to come promptly himself to address issues that relate to public feelings about SARS and actually talking to the officers and men, that means he is taking the responsiveness within the Nigerian Police seriously before we start to address extra issues that border on the citizens.”
The agency, however, called for the establishment of a Presidential Commission of Inquiry to probe the allegations.
The Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, stated this in a statement on Thursday while reacting to the summary of the Army report.
“We stand by the findings of our research and our call for an investigation that is independent, impartial and thorough; criteria that this panel clearly does not meet. We maintain that the nine senior commanders named in our report should be the subject of an effective and independent investigation.
“To this end, we welcome the panel’s recommendation that there should be a Presidential Commission of Inquiry into these allegations of horrific war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in North-East Nigeria,” the statement said.
Amnesty International asked the Federal Government to set up an independent investigation into its allegations, insisting that those suspected of committing human rights violations must be brought to book.
“President Muhammadu Buhari promised an independent investigation into our allegations of human rights violations and crimes under international law two years ago. This is a vital step and must be implemented as a matter of urgency by the government.
“Amnesty International’s priority is justice, human rights and the dignity of human life in Nigeria. We maintain that those suspected of committing human rights violations and crimes under international law on all sides of the conflict must be brought to justice in fair trials before civilian courts without recourse to the death penalty. We also urge the military to make the whole of this report public,” the statement added.
The Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, has reiterated the commitment of his administration towards ensuring a safe environment for living and for businesses to thrive.
This, he hopes to achieve by strengthening the existing law of the state against kidnapping and cultism, among other social vices.
He gave the assurance in Abeokuta, the state capital, while addressing members of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, during a walk against kidnapping, extra judicial killings, and corruption.
Also speaking against kidnapping, during a meeting with Assistant Inspector General of Police in January, Amosun stated that the menace is something all citizens must challenge.
“Kidnapping is so alien to us in this country, but all of a sudden, it raised its ugly head and I think we must frontally challenge it.
“We have the appropriate laws and we might have to review such laws. Let me use this opportunity and medium to send the right signals to all these criminals that Ogun state will not be comfort zone for them.”
Consequently, the governor has harped on the need for every resident of the state to be law abiding and give maximum support to the security agencies in the onerous task of ensuring adequate security of life and property.
He also gave an assurance that the perpetrators of any such crime, if caught, would be brought to book.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri, has appealed to the South African government to stop the extra judicial killing of Nigerians in South Africa.
She made the appeal when she visited the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria in Abuja, Mr Lulu Louis.
According to her, over one hundred Nigerians have been executed by South African policemen in the last two years.
Mrs Dabiri further stated that majority of the executions were extrajudicial.
Meanwhile, Mr Louis has given an assurance of his government’s determination to ensure justice for the families of the victims.
Global human rights body, Amnesty International, has released a new report, indicting the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force of extra judicial killing, torture and collection of bribes from detainees.
A senior research officer at the Amnesty International, Damian Ugwu, hinted reporters about the report entitled “You Have Signed Your Death Warrant” on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
He alleged that SARS officials use torture and threats of execution to make suspects confess to crimes.
Mr Ugwu noted that the report represented findings from victims of torture in the Federal Capital Territory, Enugu and Anambra states.
However, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has denied the allegation and described the findings of Amnesty International’s report as “biased”.
He insisted that the report was based on perception, noting that the police were not given the opportunity to respond to the allegations.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of SARS, Paul Yakadi, also faulted the report.
He said it was impossible to discipline erring officers when nobody reported the alleged infractions.
The Kaduna State government and military authorities have amicably resolved the crisis that led to the blockade of the Kaduna-Zaria road by protesting tanker drivers on Sunday night.
The drivers had blocked the road with their trucks since Sunday night to protest the shooting of their colleague allegedly by military personnel at a checkpoint in Rigachikun area of Igabi Local Government Council.
This led to a heavy traffic jam on the only access road between Kaduna, Zaria and some northern states. Both the army and Air Force denied any of its personnel was involved.
However, following the intervention of the State government and senior military officers, who met with the angry drivers, they agreed to remove the barricade but they insisted that all road blocks on the road must be removed.
Abah Saminu, a trailer driver, was shot by unidentified men in military uniform on the road for refusing to part with 500 Naira they were requesting for, leading to the protest by his colleagues.
Motorists woke up on Monday to find the road blocked forcing many travellers to return to their homes.
The leadership of Miyyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has threatened to drag the Nigerian Military to the Court over what it termed as the incessant killings, harassment and infringement on the rights of its members.
At a press conference in Kaduna, the National Secretary of the association, Baba Usman Ngelzarma, lamented the injustice meted against Fulani herdsmen across the country and warned that they would no longer fold their arms and watch their members being unjustly killed and intimidated by the military on daily basis.
Reacting to the alleged killing of six Fulani herdsmen by soldiers at Saminaka in Lere Local Government of Kaduna State, MACBAN described the incident as brutal and deliberately planned to eliminate their members, expressing anger that such wicked act was carried out by security agents.
The association said that the six deceased Fulani herdsmen were arrested in Kunkuru village in the same Lere Local Government while they were returning from their grazing point in the Southern part of Kaduna State to their place of origin in Jigawa State. They alleged that they were shot dead by soldiers attached to the Joint Task Force in the Local Government.
The association, while calling on the military authorities to fish out the soldiers that perpetrated the killing and bring them to justice, also demanded for the immediate compensation of the families of the affected victims by the military, as well as the immediate arrest and prosecution of the village head of Rumanda by the security agencies over his alleged role in the killing of the six Fulani herdsmen.
The Spokesman of One Division Nigerian Army, Colonel Usman Abdul, did not answer the telephone calls by our correspondent, as we sought to have the military’s reaction to the allegation.
Rights group, Amnesty International (AI) has said that both the Nigerian security agencies and the Boko Haram insurgents have committed war crimes in the troubled north-eastern part of the country.
A statement issued by the group says that more than 1,500 people had been killed in the first three months of 2014, and that the situation in the north-east region has escalated into a non-international armed conflict.
Amnesty added that it has documented the killings carried out in January, February and March 2014 by both Boko Haram and the Nigerian security forces.
Part of the statement reads, “AI has received credible evidence that as the military regained control, more than 600 people, mostly unarmed recaptured detainees, were extra-judicially executed in various locations across Maiduguri.”
The rights group is asking the international community to ensure prompt, independent investigations into acts that might constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.