At the UNODC/OHCHR Project meeting (Strengthening the Oversight and Accountability Mechanisms of the Nigerian Police Force in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights) held on the 26th April, 2023 at the UN office in Abuja, Mrs Angela Uzoma-Iwuchukwu, Country Director, Avocats Sans Frontieres France having introduced and welcomed everyone, commended the collaborative efforts of the Nigerian Police Force in improving respect for human rights in Nigeria. She further shed more light on why the Police-CSO situation room was created. She stated that the situation room was instituted in 2021 after the endsars protest to collaborate with the Police on improving respect for humans rights in Nigeria.
Mr Matthias Schmale, UN Resident coordinator emphasized that this project is brought forward to strengthen peace and to work with the government so that they can provide better services to citizens. He further stated that institutions like the police and civil society are needed to function well.
Okechukwu Nwanguma, Executive Director RULAAC shared that the situation room has been having periodic meetings to strengthen the partnership of the police force with the civil society. To ensure accountability of human rights violations in the Nigerian Police Force. He commended the Nigerian Police Force for the disciplinary measures put in place and encouraged them to do more.
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The NBA President, Y.C Maikyau, OON, SAN who in giving his view expressed his delight on the invitation to the NBA to be part of the meeting and discussion. He emphasized that NBA was set up for the promotion of the rule of law, so it is our responsibility as lawyers to see that justice is being dispensed appropriately.
He commended the collaboration with the police force. He stressed on the importance of the Constitution, stating that the welfare and security of the citizens should be the primary purpose of the government.
Mr Maikyau also addressed the challenges faced by Police agents and the risk of their jobs, he mentioned the recent kidnap of the former NBA President, Okey Wali, SAN. He stated that two of Mr Okey Wali’s policemen were shot at and are currently receiving treatment in the hospital. He said he visited them at the hospital on Monday to see how they were doing.
Mr Maikyau suggested that a pressure group that will remind the government of their responsibilities to the Nigerian Police Force and civil society should be constituted. He also stated that it was important to also focus attention on the welfare of the Nigerian Police officers because they are also human beings and they have families. He said he believes this can encourage them to be more active and efficient. He also encouraged that methods should be created in which people can live out their basic responsibilities to relieve the police officers.
At the close of discussion, it was stated that in the last six months, work has been done with the police. Such as trainings of the police officers, on how they can properly interrogate and effect arrest and safety programs, because the police can only get the support of the public if they respect human rights.