Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party in the 2019 general election, on Monday called for urgent and comprehensive reform of the Nigeria Police Force.
In a statement issued in Lagos, Moghalu condemned police brutality, extrajudicial killings, unlawful arrests and extortions.
He said: “In spite of the hard work of many senior officers and the rank-and-file of the Nigeria Police Force in very difficult circumstances, incidents of police brutality against Nigerian citizens are frequent and very disturbing.
“The Nigerian public is once again expressing outrage against new episodes of regular acts of victimisation of citizens by the police.
“The physical and psychological assaults on citizens by the police need to end.
“Without this, the police cannot build a new public image for itself. Neither will it be able to gain the trust of the citizens.
“Trust between citizens and the police is essential for effective crime prevention, arrest of suspects and keeping Nigerians safe.”
Moghalu, also the Convener of a non-governmental organisation: To Build A Nation, said the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad had been notorious in many of its activities, which led to the #EndSARS campaign.
He added: “The unprofessional conduct of many police officers and men is not limited to FSARS; it has reportedly involved various units of the police.
“Therefore, what is fundamentally required is a package of reforms for the police.
“As I outlined during my presidential campaign for the 2019 general elections, the reform needs include welfare of the officers, training, and effective disciplinary regime across the police establishment.
“I also said that the numerical strength of the police should be increased by up to 1.5 million new recruits over a period of five years. The country also needs to devolve policing to the states and community levels.”
Moghalu said the Nigeria Police Force, as an institution, had remained the same, notwithstanding recently announced changes.
He said: “It is high time we prioritised effective policing in Nigeria. We should not wait for another episode of police brutality and killing of innocent Nigerians before taking the necessary reform actions.”
The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on Sunday banned personnel of the FSARS and other Tactical Squads of the police from routine patrols across the country.
Adamu in a statement signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said the squads affected by the ban were the Special Tactical Squad, Intelligence Response Team, Anti-Cultism Squad and other Tactical Squads operating at the Federal, Zonal and Command levels.
He said the affected squads were by the directive banned from carrying out routine patrols and other conventional low-risk duties, stop-and-search, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks and traffic checks, with immediate effect.
Adamu added that no personnel of the Force was authorised to embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti.
The police boss said the directives came against the backdrop of findings by the leadership of the Force that a few personnel of the Tactical Squads hid under the guise of police duties to perpetrate all forms of illegality.
He said the personnel were to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes when the need arises.