Our Police Have Gone Mad Again, By Farouk Ayorinsola Obisanya
Last week, I was writing on this same title before I experienced a change of subject-matter. I concluded within me that it is for another time. Hence, the obliteration from the screen of Bill Gates invention. If it was completed and you’ve got to read, then the the recent heinous act performed by a drunk Nigeria policeman wouldn’t be captured. If one is to wait, then the wait will be forever till citizens are manumitted from the spontaneous wild behaviours exhibited by police officers on duty.
I crave your indulgence that this piece is not going to serve the complete gist of the brutal stories of police killings as news platform have done. And save the illusory tale of how the devil used them. It’s not a justifiable ground to kill. Do you hope or pray that the devil should use you?
Accidentally or intentionally, some Nigeria policemen in the past have involved in the act of extra-judicially murdering Nigerians in cold blood. In a report titled ‘‘Nigeria police kill at will’’, Amnesty International, the global watchdog documented the tragic proclivity of the police. More often than not, the police lay claim to accidental discharge from their guns. Consequently, it is perceived that they can’t handle a gun. One wonders how they can manage more sophisticated arms.
Many years ago, I read in a national dally that a policeman killed a secondary school girl with his riffle because a commercial bus driver refused to give him twenty naira (#20). Then, drivers who refuse to bribe – a life saver – receive the brunt.
In 2010, Onyekachi Nwasouba, a graduate of Industrial Chemistry who was into production and distribution of satchet water was fatally shot dead in the front of his house. The victim was said to have been branded a robbery suspect by the policemen
On December 20, 2015, a police van with registration number NPF 1791D of the Rivers State Police Command was driven against traffic by Inspector John Kanu and killed one Edah Oghenekevwe Richard: a Mechanical Engineering student at University of Port Harcourt and a would-be corper in 2016. The police van after hitting the boy, tried to drive off but were stopped by onlookers at the junction and eyewitnesses who demanded that the victim be taken to hospital.
As if the above unruly conduct from a policeman in Rivers State Police Command is not enough to demoralize concerned relatives and citizens in general, another thorny shocking report pierced Nigerians again. According to reports, a drunk policeman, Stephen James, on December 26, 2015 shot and killed three men at a hotel in the Ketu area of Lagos State. He killed twin brothers identified as Taiwo and Kehinde Oyesunle and their friend Jeje. The Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Joe Offor, confirmed the killings. DSP Joe Offor said, ‘‘the policeman was on duty at that hotel. He was attached to Mopol 22, Ikeja. He was drunk while on duty and he acted under the influence of alcohol.
From these tragedies, there are questions begging for answers. Should policemen be caught in the offence of driving against traffic? Should a policeman be intoxicated while on duty? Let’s say some easily enjoy drinking to stupor and going around with protuberant bellies, can’t they swim in the pool of alcohol when off duty? What is the problem of Nigeria policemen?
The police should know that they have no right to kill, which is a criminal offence in Nigeria as stipulated in section 306 of the Criminal Code (applicable in the Southern states of Nigeria) and section 19 of the Penal Code (applicable in the Northern states of Nigeria) respectively. Section 4 of th Police Act clearly state the general duties of the police. ‘‘The police shall be employed for the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders, the preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property and the due enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are directly charged, and shall perform such military dutieswithin or outside Nigeria as may be required of them by, or under the authority of this or any other Act.’’
The above provision of the Police Act has not explicitly or impliedly vest the power of extra-judicial killing to the Police. Rather than to protect the citizens, the police impinge on citizens’ rights.
We forbid the continuous violence against humanity. There’s need to end the illegal unfettered use of guns. Thus, drastic measures should be taken. One, there is need for reorientation of policing ethics and societal and values. Two, the restriction of use of guns to special units and those who deal with the public should be disallowed the indiscriminate possession of guns. Three, a thorough prosecution of any policeman found guilty of murder. This was done in Rivers state recently when a court judgement delivered by Justice Enebeli sentenced Inspector Samuel Timothy alongside Corporal Moses to death by hanging for killing citizen Onyekachi Nwasouba. However, the problem encountered in prosecution is that police officers protect their mates from facing the wrath of the law. Hence for proper prosecution, police officers should stop shielding offenders.
Finally, let’s agree that some are propelled by the devil dwelling in them, let’s pray for their spiritual deliverance that will cast all the devils out.
Farouk Ayorinsola Obisanya