By OKOSUN OKHUELEIGBE & FAVOUR UMARU
THE need to ensure that policemen respect human rights while carrying out their duties with due diligence necessitated a two-day sensitization workshop for Divisional Police Officers (DPO) on the promotion and protection of human rights under Lagos state Police Command.
The Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase said it is high time things were done properly and differently too to help the force grow as“we want to move with the time.”
Represented by the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Training and Development, AIG Olufemi Adenaike, the IGP said, “We want to change and the police must fall in line with the new concept of change as envisioned by the new government.
“Irrespective of your rank as a policeman, you are working for the IGP and the IGP is working for the nation. Therefore, any action or inaction will reflect on the IGP. We want everybody to be on the same page,” AIG Adenaike reiterated.
He debunked allegation that police use torture as an instrument for extracting information from suspects. However, he added that searchlight will be beamed on Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) who are often accused of involving in such act.
“We designed this seminar for DPOs so that they will tell the rank and file that it is wrong to detain people illegally. Though it will take time, we are going to change, we need to change and we are going to change,” AIG Adenaike emphasised.
The National Daily, in an interaction with the Human Security Adviser, Embassy of Switzerland to Nigeria, Jasna Lazarevic, said police is the mirror and face of governance in Nigeria explaining that there is greater enthusiasm in the will to improve human rights-based policing by the Nigeria police.
She said, “We have been working with the Nigeria government in general and the Nigeria police force in particular since 2011 on improving human right-based policing and the respect for human rights in Nigeria. I think significant progress have been made in that regards.”
Jasna added that the embassy was motivated to partner with the police on the seminar as it is traditional on them defending humanitarian affairs and also the human right issues.
The two-day seminar organised by Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) and was supported by the United Nation Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC); Consulate General of Switzerland, Atlanta, GA was funded by the European Union (EU).
The Executive Director of PRAWA and Project Coordinator, Nigeria Police Human Rights Training Project, Dr Uju Agomoh said there are lots of positives especially as there is lots of openness in government agencies to make human rights a priority.
Dr Agomoh noted with enthusiasm that it has never been this good that you find different agencies all speaking the same language of efficiency, language of compliance to humans rights principles and international best practices.
She explained that the concept of the training was about every police officer hence it was restricted to the divisional police officers knowing full well that when DPOs are grossed, it will trickle down to the rank and file.
“We decided to target the operational levels and would make sure that this project covers over 30 police training schools in Nigeria,” Dr Agomoh reiterated.
No fewer than 107 divisional police officers drawn from Lagos State Police Command attended the two-day seminar on Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Nigerian Police. Other resource persons included ACP Warebi Owotorufa; Dr Lydia Umar (GAT); Chinedu Nwagu, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Ogechi Ogu (Olice Justice Initaitive). The seminar which was held at the Dover Hotel in Ikeja, had all the participants given handbook on human rights, books and other instructional materials.