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NHRC, civil society groups seek police accountability, improved service delivery

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CIVIL Society Organisations (CSOs) and Community-based Organisations (CBOs) have called for accountability and improved policing from the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).

This is part of the focus of a two-day capacity building organised by Nigeria Policing Programme (NPP) in collaboration with  National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Partners West Africa Nigeria (PWAN) which started in Abuja today.

Okechukwu Nwaguna, Executive Director of Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), said police accountability is important as it would hold individual police officers responsible for effectively delivering basic services of crime control and maintaining order while incorporating the human rights principles and standards.

He said the stakeholders have roles to play to ensuring improved service delivery by the NPF, but this could be done successfully, said Nwaguna, when each stakeholder understood the policing objectives. 

Referring to the Police Act, section four prescribed NPF functions to include the prevention and detection of crime, apprehension of offenders, preservation of law and order, protection of life and property, while section 23 empowered the police to undertake criminal prosecutions. 

He said there should be an expansion of police duties to incorporate human rights principles and obligations dwelling on the passage of the police reform bill (2018) into law. 

In a discussion based on Police internal control systems that include Gender Desk, Complaints Response Unit, X-quad and Human rights unit, the participants held that the systems were in a dysfunctional state.

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Innocent Chukwuma, advisor of the Nigeria Policing Programme said torturing should be excluded from police culture when trying to get information from suspects. To him, torture was a crime and any police officer that did such committed a crime.  

The other organisations represented at the roundtable are CLEEN Foundation, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) and Lawyers Alert.

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