The newly appointed Commissioner of Police in Edo State, Mr Olafimihan Adeoye, says all security arrangements made so far to ensure a smooth conduct of the September 10 governorship election will remain untouched.
Mr Adeoye made the statement on Monday in an interview with Channels Television shortly after resuming work at the Police Headquarters in Benin City, the state’s capital in south-south Nigeria.
The Police Commissioner took over from Mr Chris Ezike who had been redeployed to the Police College in Ikeja, Lagos State.
Meanwhile, some candidates of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) of the General Certificate Examination (GCE) have called for the postponement of the Edo State governorship election.
The examination applicants voiced their demand in a protest, at the Government House in the state’s capital with placards bearing various inscriptions.
They said that holding the examination and the poll on the same day would disenfranchise them.
The GCE candidates also took their protest to the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission and the secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party in Benin City.
The Nigeria Police has set up an anti-bomb squad of 140 officers as part of its efforts at combating terrorism in the country.
Members of the squad, who were drawn from different commands across the nation, had to undergo intensive training for four weeks.
Addressing the squad, the Assistant Inspector General of Policezone 11, Mamman Tsafe encouraged the officers to put to good use, the skills they had learned, adding that “to whom much is given much is equally expected.”
“The challenges are not for you alone. You have to synergise with other security outfits to accomplish your mission”
The Commissioner of Police, Anti-bomb squad, Abdulmajid Ali, expressed the command’s readiness to rise up to the task ahead.
He called on the public to partner with the command in combating terrorism.
As the UN Human Rights Council session opens this week, a non-governmental organisation, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent a request to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, urging her “to publicly condemn the reports of dehumanising and degrading conditions of police trainees across police colleges in Nigeria.”
The session of the Human Rights Council is holding from February 25 to March 22, 2013.
The organisation also wants Ms Pillay to “call or facilitate a public session of the UN Human Rights Council and civil society to discuss the problem with a view to putting pressure on the Nigerian government to urgently address and remedy the serious and systematic violation of the human rights of the trainees to human security and dignity, and to an adequate standard of living.”
In the petition signed by Solicitor to SERAP, Mr. Femi Falana, and sent to Ms Pillay on Monday, the organisation said that, “publicly speaking out against the violations of the human rights of police trainees and holding of a public session on the treatment of police trainees in police colleges across Nigeria would contribute to putting pressure on the government to urgently take concrete, meaningful and transparent action to improve the conditions and treatment of the trainees, and consequently improve the ability of our law enforcement agencies to discharge their duties of maintaining law and order, and ensuring the safety and security of the citizens.
“This is a crucial law enforcement issue to which your office is fully committed to addressing globally including in Nigeria. Unless the Nigerian government is held responsible for its failure to respect the right to human security and dignity of police trainees across police colleges in Nigeria, the government will not be able to meet up with its international legal obligations of maintaining law and order, and ensuring the safety and security of its citizens.”
SERAP maintains that “By failing to spend allocated budgets meant to establish infrastructure and improve the conditions of police colleges in the country, the government has breached its international human rights obligations and commitments including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”
The organisation requested the UN Rights Chief to, among others:
1. Publicly condemn in your statement to the session of the UN Human Rights Council scheduled to hold between February 25 2013 and March 22, 2013 reports of dehumanising and degrading treatment of police trainees across police colleges in Nigeria
2. Ask the Nigerian Government delegation attending the session of the Human Rights Council to explain how the budget meant to establish infrastructure and improve the conditions of police trainees in police colleges has been spent, and what the government is doing to urgently address this serious human rights violation
3. Call or facilitate public session of the Human Rights Council and civil society to discuss the problems with a view to putting pressure on the Nigerian government to address it.
4. Urge the Nigerian government to invite the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context; Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment; Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights; Special Rapporteur on the right to food; Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation to visit Nigeria to thoroughly investigate the violations of human rights committed against police trainees across police colleges in Nigeria, and to make recommendations to the government on what to do to address the problem.
The organisation states further: “Recent investigation and documentary by the highly respected Channels TV showed among others that training facilities are in terribly bad shape; that the college is overcrowded (housing 3000 people instead of 750); that student hostels are in dilapidated conditions and lack beds, mattresses and decent and functioning toilets. It showed the college’s male and female dormitories, some of them built before independence in 1960, in state of disrepair. The trainees are clearly in some discomfort, because the footage showed bug-infested sleeping quarters and blood-stained beddings.”
Nigeria is a member of the Human Rights Council, and has ratified several UN human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Recent revelations of the dilapidated state of the Premier Police training college, Ikeja have attracted the attention of many Nigerians including that President Goodluck Jonathan. The decrepit level of training the Nigerian Police receive from have no doubt impinged on the performance of the security personnel who are currently being overstretched by the high level of insecurity in the country.
A report by the Human Rights Watch showed that Nigerians don’t trust the police; citizens generally have a bad impression of police officers because of their perceived brutality and corruption.
While on an assignment in the United States of America, Channels Television crew was privileged to visit the City of Miami Police College, an institution which specializes in the training of officers and men for the city of Miami police as well as for other police departments.
In this report we bring you the findings from one several Police training institutions – the Miami police college.
The Federal Government has said that it is poised to restructure and refurbish police training institutions across the country.
The minister of police affairs, Caleb Olubolade, who was speaking after a meeting with the police management team, disclosed that the meeting was to discuss the operational and training needs of the Nigerian police force.
According to him the federal government will address these issues so as to reposition the Nigerian police force for effectiveness.
Mr Olubolade was on Monday summoned by President Goodluck Jonathan to answer questions on the rot at the Police Training College, Ikeja, Lagos, which was brought to the public’s attention after a Channels Television documentary trailer on the college was aired last week.
The documentary had forced Mr Jonathan to pay an unscheduled visit to the college last Friday, the first of such visits by a sitting president to the 73-year-old college.
The House of Representatives had blamed the decay of facilities at the police training college on long periods of neglect and poor funding of the institution.
It also proposed a bill seeking to employ public private partnerships for funding not only the Ikeja College, but other police academies in the country.
There are 10 training police institutions in Nigeria, including Police College, Ikeja; Police College, Oji River, Enugu State; Police College, Kaduna, Kaduna State; Police Academy, Wudil, Kano State; Police Training Staff College, Jos, Plateau State; Police Mobile Force Training School, Ila-Orangun, Osun State; and Police Mobile Training School, Gwoza, Borno State.
Others are Police Detective College, Enugu State; College of Computer Studies, Abeokuta, Ogun State; and other training schools in Lagos, Edo and Cross River States, among other states across the country.
Following the week-long report by Channels Television on the dilapidated state of the Police Training College in Lagos, President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday paid a surprise visit to the college.
Dr. Jonathan who arrived in company of the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim, expressed shock at the level of dilapidation at the foremost institute.
Apparently responding to pictures of rot in infrastructure broadcast by Channels Television, a visibly angry president queried the authorities of the college on the state of the institution.
He promised to change the tide in the college saying that his government
“Will do something about the institution”, the President vowed.
The chairman of Channels Television, Mr John Momoh was present during the president’s visit.
This is the first time a sitting President would be visiting the Police College built over 70 years ago.
The President’s visit lasted for about an hour, during which he undertook an inspection tour of the school, including the students’ hostel which is in a terrible state.
Throughout the week, Channels Television has broadcast series of reports on the police college.
The police project is the station’s corporate social responsibility for year 2013, and on Tuesday January the 22nd, there would be a forum in Lagos where the private sector will be sensitized on the need to come together to rebuild the college and bring it to international standard.
The capacity of the Nigerian Police Force is currently being overstretched by the insurgency in the North, abuses against ordinary citizens and undermines of the rule of law. According to a report of the Human Rights Watch, Nigerians don’t trust the police; citizens generally have a bad impression of police officers because of their perceived brutality and corruption. Despite the huge budgetary allocation to the force – N311 billion ($1.99 billion) in 2013 – the Nigerian police are haplessly often overpowered by criminals whose activity affects those in high and low places.
At the heart of the problem of the police force is training, there are seven police colleges in Nigeria and new recruits are expected to undergo about 13 months training in these institutes.
However, this video report focuses on the deplorable state of the police college in Ikeja, Lagos.
The much anticipated Channels Forum on rebuilding the police college has been postponed to enhance the participation of all stakeholders involved in the revamping of this 70 year old institution.
The General Manager Operations (GMO) of Channels Television, Kayode Akintemi on Channels TV breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Tuesday explained that the postponement was in order to ensure the involvement of every stakeholder that is essential in the rebuilding of the police academy.
“We have had an unforeseen circumstance that has led to a situation where the management of Channels Television has to be very responsible in the way they handle things.” stated Mr Akintemi.
The Police Project is geared to rebuild the police academy and it is planned to involve stakeholders such as Nigerian Police Force, the Nigerian government, the Civil Society and Channels Television along with corporate Nigeria.
All of these stakeholders must be carried along for a definite grasp of what is needed to be done, he clarified.
Reacting to online insinuations that the television station has been pressurised by the federal government, Channels TV GMO affirmed that the station was not in any way bowing to pressure from authority to refrain the programme.
Mr Akintemi asserted that “Channels TV cannot be intimidated. We cannot be cowed.”
“We have a duty and responsibility to Nigerians, we have ethical standards that we work to and that’s why we are the first Nigerian television to have won the press prize for TV station of the year seven times.”
He further explained that “this is a CSR programme….as far as journalism is concerned, we have adequately done our bit by exposing the rot in the police academy and we can hands off once the President, the police or military are ready to do whatever they want to do. We have done our bit.”
He noted that some fundamental issues affect the capacity of our security officials and “that is why Channels TV has chosen to focus on the training of the police officials. We want to take it a step further as our CSR and we cannot shave somebody’s head in their absence” therefore “we just have to carry the police along.”
Mr Akintemi also denied that the event has been cancelled indefinitely, saying “the event is postponed to get things in order.” “We are looking at having it as soon as possible” adding that “we will soon get it reconvened and the event will hold in the coming weeks.”
He also made it clear that the station’s editorial judgement is not compromised, “changing the date has absolutely nothing with our editorial judgement.”
We will continue to sensitise Nigerians on this issue to sustain the interest of corporate Nigeria and Nigerians as a whole to find a solution to this problem.
A new date for the Channels Forum will soon be announced.
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has condemned the comments made by President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday while on a surprise visit to the Police College Ikeja, to see the decaying state of the training institution. In a statement issued in Lagos on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said instead of using the occasion to tell Nigerians what his administration will do to uplift the training institution and many of its likes across the country, the President chose to berate imaginary enemies who are bent on embarrassing his administration, and also questioned how Channels Television managed to film the rot in the college.
“Mr President, those comments were totally unnecessary, and they put a damper on what would have been a great moment for you. A surprise presidential visit is always a good strategy for leaders to see things in their real state, without the usual window dressing that heralds scheduled visits. But it must be properly managed to achieve the maximum effect. Failure to make the best of that moment is akin to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory,” it said.
The ACN said the expose by Channels shows that the media is alert to its watchdog responsibility, hence it should not matter how the Television station gained access to the college or who was behind it.
The party said the President can still make amends by making a policy statement on how his administration plans to turn around the fortunes of the police college in particular, and all the police training institutions across the country in general, as part of an general effort to improve the overall welfare of the men and women who are saddled with the responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of all citizens.
“Subjecting police men and women to dehumanising and demeaning conditions, the type exposed by Channels, during training means we cannot and should not expect them to be exemplary after their training, Nothing good can come out of what we saw in that college.
“Terrible as the state of the Police College in Ikeja is, it represents a tip of the iceberg when compared with the pervasive rot in police barracks and police stations, as well as the generally poor welfare of the police. There is no doubt that the pervasive corruption in our country and the lack of maintenance culture contributed to what has now become a global embarrassment to the whole of Nigeria, not just to the Jonathan Administration.
“Therefore, there is no better time than now for the Administration to embark on a concerted effort to reverse the rot. It may also not be a bad idea for the President, who was reportedly angry and shocked at what he saw during the visit, to order a probe into how the institution deteriorated so badly, with a view to prevent a recurrence,” it said.
A member of a group, The Professionals for Change Dr. Tokunbo Adedeji has advocated the closing down of the police Barracks across Nigeria to curb the rot in the police system.
“If I had my way, I’ll close down all the police barracks throughout the federation, that’s where the rot of the police starts”.
He said he’s had a clarion call over 20 years ago that something needs to be done for Nigeria.
He explained further on our breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, that no matter how much training these men and women receive at the college, they get corrupt by means of residing in the police barracks; losing everything they were trained on and absorbing the ‘Barrack Mentality’.
He said that the barrack mentality segregates the police from the entire society, carving a scenario of ‘Us and Them’ with ‘Us’ being the police and ‘Them’ being the society at large.
He said further that inside the police barracks, a new attitude is imbibed with set of rules and code of conduct.
He advised that the police should be allowed to stay in the society with ordinary citizens so a synergy can be achieved and by that a policeman can know his environment better.
A Professor of criminology and social sciences at the University of Abuja, Femi Odekunle has described Nigeria as a place where politicians engage in political and economic racketeering for their selfish purposes. Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Odekunle said Nigerians should disregard the comments of ministers and other government, officials, who often say that Nigeria’s macroeconomic indices are growing.
“Of course, nobody would deny that we are growing but the growth is not translating to development. Development has to do with impacting on the socioeconomic and political lives of the average citizen. It has to do with distribution of the dividend of development,” he said.
The professor said the reason why the dividend of development is not getting to the ordinary Nigerian was because of corruption.
“The consequences of the resulting underdevelopment cannot be divorced from our level of insecurity which has been worsening, if you allow me to say, from the 60s to today,” Mr Odekunle said.
A security expert and National Coordinator of the Network on Police Reform, Emeka Nwanevu has said that the opaque processes by which Inspectors-General of Police are appointed, the absence of secured tenure for those that occupy that office and high turnover in the leadership of the police make planning for improvements in the performance of the force rather difficult in Nigeria.
Mr Nwanevu, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said the lack of security of tenure for the Police Inspector General as well as interference of politicians into the operations of the police make the position of IGP one of the most unstable leadership positions in the country.
He said since the President was the one who can hire and fire the IGP; he has enormous power to control the activities of the police boss. “An Inspector General cannot flaunt the orders of the person who appoints him,” Mr Nwanevu said.
The security expert is calling for the amendment of Section 215(1) of the Nigerian Constitution which provides that the IGP “shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Police Council from amongst serving members of the Nigeria Police Force.”