Lawyer and rights activist, Kayode Ajulo, has called for legislation to compel all law enforcement officers in Nigeria to wear body camera in their engagement with the civil populace.
In an open letter he wrote to the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-olu, entitled ‘Imperative of a Legal and Regulatory Framework; an Ultimate Panacea’, Ajulo said in policing equipment, body cameras are essential in modern day policing, and that codifying the use of these equipment will immensely accentuate the effectiveness of same.
Governor Sanwo-olu recently approved the use of body-worn cameras for officers of law enforcement agencies in Lagos State.
Congratulating the governor on this pace-setting move, Ajulo asked that the governor go a step further by seeking legislation to make it compulsory for not just police officers but all law enforcement officers to wear the gadget in their relationship with the civil populace.
“As a legal practitioner, former national secretary of a pro-masses leading political party and a pro-democracy advocate who has clamoured for the emancipation of the principle of rule of law and good governance, I am further compelled to reiterate my stance through the auspices of Egalitarian Mission for Africa which I lead on the imperative to implement the compulsory use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement agencies in Nigeria,” he said.
Ajulo noted the fight against desecration of the entrenched principles of rule of law is a collective responsibility, recalling that he and his development partners in the United Kingdom had once volunteered to make available to the Nigeria Police, free of charge, body-worn cameras.
Aside from being used to record crime, he said the use of body-worn camera would ensure police transparency and accountability, which will ultimately check abuse of police and restore public confidence in their operations.
“While commending Your Excellency for the gallant and giant stride in ensuring transparency and accountability in the law enforcement agencies, however I am compelled to postulate that codifying the use of these body-worn cameras will immensely accentuate the effectiveness of same,” he said.
Ajulo suggested that “the provisions of the new Nigeria Police (Establishment) Act, 2020, the Administration of Criminal Justice Law and the Administration Act, 2015, particularly Section 15 of the Act and any other enabling Acts, should be amended to mandate compulsory use of body-worn cameras by officers of law enforcement agencies in all their engagements with the civil populace and same should contain provisions for stringent punishment for any defaulting officer.”
Failure to wear the body-worn cameras, he further suggested, “should invalidate any investigations conducted involving the erring law enforcement agencies.”