THE Nigeria Policing Programme (NPP) in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Partners West Africa Nigeria (PWAN) have inaugurated an advocacy team to promote police accountability and combat human rights violations that exist within the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
The team, restricting its activities to the Federal Capital Territory, was a product of a two-day roundtable that held between Tuesday and Wednesday in Abuja which focused on strengthening accountability in the Nigeria Police Force and other law enforcement agencies.
Highlighting what the police should be accountable for, Okechuwkwu Nwanguma, Executive Director of Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), said it is important the security agency account for its conducts, crime, and cost, as well as to be accountable to the law and the people.
Nwanguma said the advocacy team set-up today would serve as a police external accountability mechanism that craves for better policing and combats human rights violation in Abuja.
He urged the members to follow ethics when advocating or reporting on human right. He said it is supposed to be an evidence-based advocacy team.
Accuracy, confidentiality, impartiality and gender sensitivity were the four ethics area the group was urged to incorporate.
“Make a clear distinction between hearsay and fact. Access the original source of information, and do not take sides on conflict” Nwanguma noted.
“A female victim that was raped should not be interviewed by a man,” he added.
Eleanor Nwadinobi, an expert on Gender and Human rights who led the discussion on Police accountability and how it affects Women Peace and Security (WPS) said though there is a national action plan (NAP) on WPS in Nigeria, there are huge gaps in the implementation.
Nwadinobi also complained lack of provision for a national constitution on the issue of women’s right. She said the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) ACT (VAPP) that was passed by the National Assembly in 2015 is only applicable to FCT.
But she informed that 11 states have developed legislation that addressed several issues affecting women and girls within their jurisdiction. They include Bayelsa, Borno, Delta, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau, Rivers, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, and Plateau states.
The chairman of the advisory team set-up today is Folarin Aluko, a barrister and chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association, Abuja Chapter.
Other members in the team include representatives from Lawyers Alert, CLEEN Foundation, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), PWAN, NHRC, Nigeria Policing Programme, Keen and Care Initiative and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.