By Jefferson Uwoghiren
With the cups of immunity from impunity running over, we seemed finally at the cusp of a determined decision by determined “dissidents” to restructure our policing failures. In all our major cities with cognitive connections, victims of policing errors are on the streets, pressing on our socio- structural foundations and unions, creating a unique existential crises for government.
Government is facing a threatening test in consequences of administrative failures that was just too visible to ignore. I sincerely hope, it’s maturely handled, as nothing tests the character of a nation like street strifes.
The goal of any civilized nation, or aspirants to civilization, is how to meet these testy challenges timely, so as to make new ones unnecessary. Now to the raging issue of #endsars. Our deliberate inefficiency has remained the biggest obstacles inhibiting our test and zest for civilised nationhood. Governments in many civilized countries, cognizant of human errors and abuses of policing powers and controls by law enforcement agencies, set up independent, yes independent supervisory organizations to intervene, regulate, compensate, interface and where necessary punish erring policemen, where they breach the rules of engagement affecting citizens’ rights.
In the UK, just to cite one case, The Independent Police Complaints Commission, oversees police complaints system. The Commission receives complaints from aggrieved citizens and investigate the most serious complaints and allegations of misconducts against police officers, in respective of rank. More importantly, its the Law in the UK, that certain types of incidents MUST be referred to the IPCC for investigation.
They include death or serious injury to a person in consequences of a direct or indirect contact with a police officer or a staff of a policing agency.
This include death in police custody, road traffic incidents involving police vehicles, firearms incident, restraint and self defense incidents, especially the use of tear gas, pepper spray; abuses of power and corruption. Over the years, in Nigeria, the crux of citizens disaffection with law enforcement agencies and their agents is the failure to set a nationally recognized Independent Police Supervisory Organization, to curb the glaring excesses , misconducts, corruption and stupidity in our policing practice and policy. The result is the raging street battles. The dismal attempt at regulation with the Old Peoples Home, they called the Police Service Commission, is daily rubbished by making old, and tired police officers head of the Commission. It’s like asking Armed Robbers to form a union and regulate their business.
Police can never police the police!!! If in doubt, check how useless, all the Police Provost Departments in State Commands are. It’s the Siberia of Police. Noting and seeing the obvious inefficiency and insufficiency of efforts to regulate activities of rogue cops, it’s beyond surprising that successive governments and legislative bodies failed to see the coming conflicts and protect Nigerians from these demons in uniforms.
The Attorney General of the Federation and of the 36 States, can’t claim ignorance of the daily injustice, malady and maltreatments, citizens, they are paid to protect, face in the hands of unsupervised police officers, with many barely able to breath from the suffocating policing jackboots. How come they know all the laws to send deviants to prison but none to protect them from injuries and injustice. Access to justice, is now a right of the privileged few. But access to prison is a right, guarantee all the poor.
James Madison, in his Federalist Papers, wrote that ” If men were angels, no government would be necessary” If our law enforcement agents were angels, there would have been no need for independent supervision. Unfortunately, many of our men in uniforms are demons of democracy, colorful masters of mayhem with immunity from impunity. Lets Scrap The Police Service Commission!!!!!
Jefferson Uwoghiren, Esq.
15th October, 2020