The Centre For Advancement of People’s Rights has sensitized members of the public, on the need for citizen rights protection against over zealous law enforcement agents.
The Executive Director of CAPRI Comrade Olumuyiwa Kushimo blaze the trail aided by other resource persons at
the public awareness programme tagged “Village Squares Discussion” with the theme “People’s Rights and Crime prevention held in conjunction with an NGO, Foundation for Justice and Rehabilitation of Prisoners to commemorate Oba of Ojokoro, Oba Rilwan Olulambe Taiwo’s coronation anniversary.
Kushimo said that the high rate of crimes with their attendant violations of human rights by law enforcement agents among others were rationale behind the programme.
He said: ” Democratic transitory programme is known throughout the world as the mechanism that allows for peacefully removal of government from power and retention of such power.
“The elected officers at various levels of government is expected to internalise that political power belongs to the people. We enjoin all to eschew politics of bitterness in the interest of the people and democracy.
“Democracy is equated with accountability. It is the participation of the powerless and the accountability of the powerful.”
The director urged the electorates not to be distracted with the recent party defections of politicians but rather focus on how well they have delivered dividends of democracy.
He urged the Federal Government to respect the will and fundamental human rights of the people as well as playing party politics fairly and according to norms.
He also noted that the prisons are no longer playing the reformatory roles intended, as the status of the prison all over the country are quite deplorable.
Kushimo advocated for well informed position when dealing with law enforcement agents to avoid a twist.
“When in the police station an illiterate should not just take hook line and sinker whatever baits thrown by officers, such should rather call for his educated relative, a lawyer or a human right person when statement are to be written,it is a lot more safer that way”. He said.
According to him, there have been defections of politicians from one party to another in the time past, and such will not end but continue, saying the recent defections and attendant crisis were unnecessary.
Kushimo urged citizens to report every case of abuse of rights, harassment and victimisation, domestic violence and undue discrimination against persons with disabilities should be reported.
The director commended the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Mr Imohimi Edgar for commitment toward toward professional conduct of the police, urging the public to support the Police.
He also commended Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode for massive dividends of democracy to the citizens in the area of infrastructures, economic and security, urging the governor to do more on healthcare.
Kushimo also advised qualified adult to participate at the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration (PVCs) and obtained Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to exercise their civic responsibility in 2019 elections.
Also speaking, Mr Olumuyiwa Adebanjo, a legal practitioner, who noted that human rights had limits and that it was the responsibility of the Police to prevent infringement of other people’s rights.
Adebanjo called for community policing to create awareness of crimes and prevent them in order to complement the work of conventional police.
“The root of most crimes is economic so government will be doing a lot to limit crimes if jobs are created and economy improved. Community has a lot do also about crime prevention.
“Police can only act to the extend of the information and intelligence given to them. Most of the time, the information comes from the community,” Adebayo said.
According to him, the Nigeria Police should invest massively in technology to make crimes prevention much easier and much more accurate.
Another activist, Mr Declan Iheikare, Convener, Concern Human Rights, who frowned at ignorance of members of the society about their rights, urged the police to be careful in the discharge of their responsibility.
According to him, court processes have not been helping the protection of human rights abuse by law enforcement agencies.
Mrs Bukola Auta , the Founder, Queen of the Masses Foundation said that activitism had so many hazards and sacrifice, saying lawyers have not fared better with respect to protection of human rights.
ASP Kolawole Adeleke, the Operations Officer, Ijaiye Ojokoro Police Station also a stakeholder at the gathering said: “Nigerians don’t know their rights and when they know, they don’t know how to fight for it. People need to create a scene when their rights are infringed upon.
“People should create scene, speak out if any police officer demand money for bail. If you don’t speak, no one will speak for you. Talk, you will not die.”
Adeleke also called for youth empowerment and public awareness against crimes, drug abuse, urged community participations.