18th May, 2017
ANEEJ WANTS POLICE TO STOP BRUTALITY OF EDO CITIZENS
‘These cases of intimidation, arrests and extortion of money from innocent Nigerians by the Nigerian police is a serious affront on the rule of law and a gross violation of the fundamental rights of individuals and groups. ANEEJ is worried that these rampant cases violate human rights and threaten the very core of our existence as a people.
Benin City…The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, has condemned in strong terms the brutal treatment meted on a bus driver in Benin City by men of the Nigerian Police Force and has called on the Inspector General of Police, IGP, to wade into these cases with a view to bring the errant police officers to book. This is one case among many other issues of harassment and brutality of innocent citizens by the men of the Nigerian Police Force, across the country.
‘These cases of intimidation, arrests and extortion of money from innocent Nigerians by the Nigerian police is a serious affront on the rule of law and a gross violation of the fundamental rights of individuals and groups. ANEEJ is worried that these rampant cases violate human rights and threaten the very core of our existence as a people. The NPF, said to be a friend of the people, should understand that their primary aim is to protect its citizens and not to molest them’, ANEEJ executive director, the Rev David Ugolor has said in a press statement.
What is becoming a trend in Benin City are instances of high-handedness by the police against the voice of civilians to freedom of speech and association. A recent incidence is the arrest of a civil society activist, Kola Edopkayi, on trumped up charges of treason and incitement. The said individual is a seasoned and committed advocate of social justice and citizen empowerment and who has respect for constituted authority. At another instance, the police were alleged to have invaded the Ambrose Alli University university Edo State and harassed very senior members of the academic community.
‘In the light of this, ANEEJ therefore calls on the IGP to as a matter of urgency, order the release of the said activist unconditionally and launch a high-powered investigation into the circumstances surrounding his arrest. We deplore the erection of illegal road blocks being used to extort monies from Edo citizens who struggle to eke a living in these very tough times of recession. Let the IGP use his good office to immediately carry out a massive programme of investigation on the rank and file of the police in Edo State, to sweep the NPF in Edo state of the bad eggs in the system who are giving the police a bad name’ the Rev Ugolor stressed.
ANEEJ believes that the federal government has put in a lot of effort in combating corruption in Nigeria. This effort has yielded much success and must be supported by well-meaning Nigerians for the gains to be consolidated. What the police is doing to Edo citizens is capable of reversing these successes and pitch the people against the government.
This reckless display of brutality by the police in Edo state has no place in the 21st Century, especially since Nigeria is run on the basis of the rule of law and respect for the citizenry.