NEWS: PRESS RELEASE

April 23, 2009

NOPRIN CALLS ON THE POLICE TO PLAY NEUTRAL ROLE, MAINTAIN LAW AND ORDER IN THE APRIL 25 APRIL EKITI GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION RE-RUN.

The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) is seriously concerned by the upsurge of tension in Ekiti State in the wake of the April 25, 2009 re-run Governorship election ordered by the Appeal Court sitting in Kwara State on February 17, 2009.

NOPRIN calls on the IGP to take proactive and effective measures to prevent or counter any situation or anyone, irrespective of political affiliation, that threatens to disrupt peaceful conduct of the election.

The Police must take steps to douse tensions and fear which may prevent eligible and willing voters from casting their votes freely.

NOPRIN notes that reckless utterances by top and influential politicians and activities of ‘overzealous’ political supporters have raised tension in Ekiti State in the run up to the election of Saturday, April 25. House of Representatives Speaker, Dimeji Bankole and other top PDP politicians have made desperate calls for the deployment of soldiers to Ekiti State one Election Day. Governor Oyinlola of Osun State has threatened to supply fake police and army uniforms. Former Governor Bola Tinubu has countered with a directive to Action Congress supporters to ‘bury fake military personnel’ found on Election Day in Ekiti. There have been allegations of arms build-up. Pre-electoral violence and killings and attempts on the lives of political opponents have been rife. Ekiti State has been completely militarized by politicians. There is a sense of a near state of war. NOPRIN fears that this state of fear may discourage or prevent voters from coming out to vote freely and provide an excuse for false election results to be written and declared.

In the face of all this, Police and INEC authorities have failed to maintain a posture of impartiality, as they are required by law. While INEC has attempted to deny or restrict the rights of credible Civil Society Groups to monitor the Ekiti rerun election, the police are displaying hardly veiled evidence of partisan sympathy. INEC must allow local and international election observer- and monitoring groups to perform their civic duties unhindered.

The IGP has cast a slur on his integrity and impartiality by his recent sudden claim that the Police Report tendered by the Action Congress Governorship candidate, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola at the Election Petition and Appeal Tribunal is ‘fake’. The IGP has been privy to the self-same Police Report more than one year ago, only to now claim that it is ‘fake’, few days after the Appeal Court gave its ruling condemning the rejection of the Police Report as evidence by the lower Tribunal, and calling for a reconstitution of the State Election Tribunal. NOPRIN is astounded by this claim which it suspects is ill-motivated. It creates a serious doubt in the minds of well meaning Nigerians about the integrity and ability of the IGP to impartially and effectively police the re-run Ekiti election and others after it, with a view to ensuring a free, peaceful and credible election.  

NOPRIN is under no illusion that Maurice Iwu, the INEC Chairman is an impartial and discredited umpire. He has been tested and proved to be man deficit in integrity, and full of impudence.  We only count on the vigilance of the Ekiti people and concerned civil society to ensure that the will of Ekiti people will prevail at the Saturday’s polls.

As his term in office as IGP draws close to an end, the IGP has this last chance to write his name in gold. He can resist political pressure in order to leave behind a good name and legacy of honour rather than of infamy, just like his predecessors. Okiro must ensure that the police steer clear of partisanship during the election; act in accordance with the Electoral Act to prevent violence, maintain law and order, and apprehend anyone involved in any attempt to rig or disrupt the election.

Okechukwu Nwanguma

NOPRIN Program Coordinator

EFCC AND MISSING CASE FILES: NOPRIN CALLS FOR RESIGNATION OF EFCC CHAIRWOMAN, FARIDA WAZIRI

 (October 2008)

 The Network on Police Reforms in Nigeria (NOPRIN) views with great seriousness the widely reported statements credited to Mrs. Farida Waziri, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial crimes Commission (EFCC), suggesting that the case files on former public office holders, particularly the 31 former State Governors investigated and indicted by the EFCC under her predecessor, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu for corruption and plunder of public funds, have disappeared and therefore their trial stalled. NOPRIN hereby calls for a judicial commission of inquiry into the missing files

 The organization also views the effort by Mr. Femi Babafemi, the Head of EFCC’s Media and Publicity to ‘clarify’ Mrs. Farida’s unequivocal statements, as nothing more than sheer afterthought designed to divert public attention from the EFCC’s complicity in promoting, rather than combating corruption in Nigeria.

 Mrs. Waziri further claims that the EFCC has found no evidence to investigate former President Obasanjo without disclosing what allegations were investigated, when her EFCC undertook any investigation or what her EFCC found. The EFCC Act empowers the organization to investigate specific allegations or complaints. It does not empower the EFCC to issue blanket exoneration in favour of any person. In offering ex-President Obasanjo and former Governors such clearance, Chairwoman Waziri clearly acted without any legal bases.

 It is implausible that case files can disappear from a public office such as the EFCC without trace, especially where people are supposed to be responsible and held to account. The only possible explanation for such an occurrence would be that some compromised elements within the EFCC have collaborated with some influential suspects in the country to willfully destroy evidence, shield them or their corrupt allies from prosecution or commit egregious denial of justice. 

NOPRIN notes that despite the excesses of former EFCC Chairperson, Nuhu Ribadu, the anti corruption war under him assumed an unprecedented momentum, instilling fear in corrupt public officials. The latest claims by Mrs. Waziri risk destroying these advances, eroding the successes recorded by her predecessor and doing lasing damage to the credibility of the EFCC.

 If the EFCC cannot account for case files in its custody, the position of its Chairperson becomes untenable. NOPRIN hereby calls on Mrs. Waziri to resign or be removed by the appropriate authorities.

 Meanwhile, NOPRIN hereby calls on President Umar Musa Yar’Adua, through the Attorney-General of the Federation to order an investigation of the disappearance of the case files. NOPRIN also calls on the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Public Petitions to similarly investigate this dangerous development which has the dangerous potential of undermining the effort to root out corruption in Nigeria with its attendant consequences on national development.

  

Okechukwu Nwanguma

(Program Coordinator)

  

TEXT OF  THE PRESS CONFERENCE  AND PUBLIC PRESENTATION OF A FACT FINDING REPORT ON  THE POLICE ATTACK ON OGAMINANA COMMUNITY IN KOGI STATE BY THE NETWORK ON POLICE REFORM IN NIGERIA (NOPRIN) [i] AND  THE OPEN SOCIETY JUSTICE INITIATIVE HELD AT THE ROCKVIEW HOTEL, ABUJA ON  3 JUNE 2008.

Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the press.

You are all welcomed to this press conference, the purpose of which is to present the report of our fact finding mission of March 19, 2008 to Ogaminana in Kogi state.  At the end this address, we will get to hear from the representatives of Ogaminana community as well as take a look at some pictorial images of the incident.

On 25 February 2008, a contingent of men of the Police Mobile Force  of the Nigerian Police Force(NPF) attacked Ogaminana , a settlement in Adavi local government area of Kogi State. The attack was said to be in response to the killing of a policeman by some irate youths. The gross human rights violations, deaths, arson and looting perpetrated by the police in the encounter were widely reported in Nigeria media. Estimate of death ranges 15 to 50, about 90 residential houses were burnt, 19 cars, market stalls and properties worth billions of naira were also set ablaze .Also, about 5000 people were displaced . The Kogi state police command denounced these reports as “wild allegation.”

The Ogaminana community compiled a report on the bloodshed and, following public outcry, the National Assembly instituted an investigation into the violence. As part of their commitment to monitoring the conduct of law enforcement agencies in Nigeria, The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria(NOPRIN) and the Open Society Justice Initiatives(OSJI) undertook a  fact-finding mission to Ogaminana, The team of five persons visited Ogaminana on  19 March  2008.

The mission went to Ogaminana where it met with the victims and leaders of the  Ogaminana community, the Adavi Local Government and the Nigerian Police Force ,including members of the unit of the Police Mobile Force deployed to contain the situation in Ogaminana. Members of the mission took and compiled photographic images of the situation in Ogaminana. The team got access to the report prepared by the NPF in Kogi State on the Ogaminana incident and the submission made by the paramount ruler(Ohinoyi)  of Egbiraland, His  Majesty, King Ado Ibrahim, to the House of  Representatives Committee on Police Affairs.

Our Findings from the interviews and meetings as well as the report prepared by the community and other persons whom we consulted and interviewed during the mission clearly showed that:

·                    a contingent of the Police Mobile Force of the Nigeria Police Force attacked the Ogaminana community on 25 February 2008;

·                    the attack was reprisal for what appears to have been the unlawful killing of Corporal Raphael George (F/No. 221994) and injury to three other Police personnel by protesting youths in Ogaminana on 24 February 2008 and for an encounter in April 2007 during which the Adavi Police Station was destroyed by a suspected political gang;

·                    the attack was facilitated by Police Mobile Force reinforcements procured from four neighbouring States, suggesting that the High Command of the Police at the Federal level  had fore knowledge of the attack and probably authorised it.; 

·                    Police personnel committed acts of arson involving the use of accelerants in the systematic burning of homes, market stalls, vehicles, motor-bikes and other items of property. They also committed brutal acts of assault and sundry violations of human rights on innocent civilians, including women, children and the aged.

·                    The attack resulted in the death of several persons.

·                    The attack also resulted in significant internal displacement of the population of Ogaminana;

·                    The Police do not appear interested in undertaking any serious investigation with a view of ensuring accountability for the unlawful killing of Corporal Raphael George;

·                    Rather than investigate the attack on the community, the Police has given itself a blanket exoneration.

·                    Federal Government which controls the Nigeria Police Force appears entirely uninterested in investigating and ensuring accountability for the violations perpetrated on the Ogaminana community. 

Members of the press, ladies and gentlemen, these findings require an urgent intervention and investigation by the government and organization(s) that have oversight control on the Nigeria Police Force. In view of this the following recommendations are being made by NOPRIN:

·                    The Federal government, should in keeping with its commitment to the rule of law, publicly affirm the value of the right to life and commit itself to take steps to ensure appropriate sanctions for the unlawful killings in Nigeria.

·                    The Federal Government should institute an independent judicial commission of inquiry into the Ogaminana incident, including the circumstances surrounding the killing of Corporal Raphael George. The inquiry should be mandated to identify the persons – including law enforcement personnel and civilians - responsible for any unlawful acts or conduct during the incident and should have full powers to compel witness testimony and access to records, if necessary.

·                    The Federal Government should commit itself to publishing the report of the commission of inquiry and to implementing the findings and recommendations of the inquiry, including public prosecutions for the victims.

·                    The Chief Justice of Kogi State should convene a public inquest under the Coroners Law of Kogi State into the deaths arising from or associated with the Ogaminana incident, including the killing of Corporal Raphael George.

·                    The Police Service Commission should exercise its statutory powers to independently investigate the conduct of Police personnel in the Ogaminana incident and ensure the application of appropriate disciplinary and legal sanctions for any mis-conduct uncovered.

·                    The National Human Rights Commission should investigate the Ogaminana incident, report to the appropriate agencies of government, and take action to ensure accountability for the violations of human rights perpetrated in the community;

·                    The Police should identify any and all of its personnel involved or present in the Ogaminana/Okene area between 24-26 March 2007 and make them available for interrogation by any official investigating body.

·                    To stave off deterioration in the public health situation in Ogaminana and its neighbouring communities and in view of the impending onset of the rainy season, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) should undertake an evaluation of humanitarian needs of the survivors of the Ogaminana attack and urgently provide the victims and displaced persons with emergency relief, including resettlement for persons internally displaced by the attack.

Thank you gentlemen of the press for honouring our invitation

Damian Ugwu

Vice Chairman  


NOPRIN is a coalition of about forty  one (41)  NGOs in Nigeria  working in the area of police reforms and accountability. The organisation  advocates for reforms in the Nigeria Police Force, through systematic coordination of civil society participation in the process of effective policing in the country.

It is also  engaged  in strategic sensitization of the general public and the police high command on the testimonials of day–to-day activities of police personnel for needed improvement and reformation, entrenching accountability. The organization also provides opportunity for the commendation of police personnel who conduct themselves in exemplary ways in the course of their jobs.

NOPRIN is interested in the building and strengthening of institutions and infrastructure that support effective policing of the Nigeria Society to enhance public safety and security.

 NOPRIN  has it head office in Lagos

 

PRESS STATEMENT

 UNPAID ESTACODE FOR PEACE KEEPING POLICEMEN

NOPRIN Calls For Inquest on Nigeria Police Budget Implementation Regime in the Last Ten or Twenty Years

  The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) is shocked at the various financial scams that have rocked the Nigeria Police Headquarters in the last couple of years. NOPRIN is therefore of the view that these occurrences have raised the urgent need to conduct an INQUEST on the budgetary implementation regime of the Force. The most recent revelation on the non-release of the ESTACODES payable to Policemen, who took part in Peace-keeping assignment at Liberia, is a most shocking one. 

NOPRIN calls for a revisit of the implementation of budgetary allocations, made to the Police high command from 1987 to 2006 in order to nip this retrogressive occurrence at this stage. It is important to note that the last has not been heard about issues of poor accountability. This strengthens strident calls by Civil Society/Government/Police partnership, aimed at reforming the Police, through the enduring tenets of accountability, for which NOPRIN has been in the vanguard of canvassing.

 NOPRIN hereby calls on the National Assembly, through its respective committees, that are charged with oversight responsibilities and functions concerning the Police, to constitute a high powered body which will be mandated to conduct an INQUEST on the budgetary implementation regime of the Force. As a corollary to the new initiative of the Ag Inspector-General of Police, Sir Mike Okiro, which includes the advancement of such reforms that will enhance the operational capabilities of the Force, the time to act on this issue of BUDGET Implementation and the establishment of reliable accountability templates is NOW.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE
 

New Report Says Police Abuses Create Public
Health Crisis

 Abuja-Lagos, Monday 10 December 2007: Leading human rights advocacy groups in Nigeria today declared that the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has become “criminalized” and called on President Umaru Yar’Adua to take urgent measures to fulfill his inauguration day promise to strengthen the police and effectively guarantee public safety and security.

In an 18-page progress report on its year-long monitoring of over 400 Police Stations in 13 States of Nigeria and Abuja (the Federal Capital Territory) released today, the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN), claims that Police personnel killing, torture, extortion, and rape have become routine in Nigeria because the police shields its personnel from legal consequences from unlawful conduct. The report concludes that “the NPF is now a danger to public safety and security and the conduct of its personnel could be the cause of a major public health and mortality emergency on a national scale.”

Established in 2000, NOPRIN is a coalition of 41 leading human rights organizations that advocate for the reform of law enforcement to guarantee public safety and security in Nigeria.

The NPF have a reputation for chilling brutality. Around Nigeria, personnel of the Police Mobile Force, a para-military wing of the NPF, are better known as “Kill-and-go”, a reference to their reputation for bloody operations that leave a lot of death and destruction in their wake.

According to the report, thousands of detainees are killed annually in encounters with the police; hundreds of detainees die outside police custody from injuries sustained during police torture; custodial conditions in police cells cause and spread infectious diseases; while a growing incidence of allegations of rape by police personnel raise the risk of trauma injuries to the victims as well as the spread of HIV-AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. The report claims that: “A police officer attached to the Police in Ikeja, Lagos State, described their practice of raping professional sex workers, claiming that ‘this is one of the fringe benefits attached to night patrol’.” NOPRIN also reports “an unusually high incidence of insanity and psychiatric ailments” among Police personnel which is connected with the routine practices of torture and extra-judicial executions that these personnel have to carry out.

Dr. Lydia Umar, NOPRIN’s Chairwoman, observed: “Police abuses here have become a public health problem. Any infection that kills and disables people in the numbers or at the rate that our police kill and disable will be declared a public health emergency.”

On November 15 2007, Nigeria’s acting Inspector-General of Police Mike Okiro, announced that the Police had killed 785 alleged “armed robbers” in his first one hundred days in office as Police Chief, representing an average daily killing rate of nearly eight persons. Four days later, on 19 November, President Yar’Adua, who has staked the credibility of both himself and his government on adherence to the rule of law, confirmed Mr. Okiro as substantive Police Chief.

NOPRIN co-ordinator, Emeka Nwanevu said: “President Yar’Adua’s commitment to the rule of law rings hollow as long as his administration takes no steps to bring an end to the epidemic of police killings and other abuses in Nigeria. What use is the rule of law if it cannot guarantee the right to life? A Police Force that kills this number of people cannot guarantee public safety.”

A heightened fear of violent crime in Nigeria has been fuelled by the easy availability of guns for political violence, vigilantes, militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta, and a succession of unsolved high-profile assassinations.

One of Mr. Okiro’s predecessors, Tafa Balogun, announced in 2004 that the NPF killed 7,198 alleged “armed robbers” in encounters from 2000 to the end of February 2004, including 2,025 in 2002, and 3,100 in 2003. Mr. Balogun’s successor as Inspector-General of Police, Sunday Ehindero, however, claimed in July 2006 that the Police killed only 2,402 during the same period.

“Mr. Ehindero somehow manages to make 4,796 killings vanish. Mr. Balogun and Mr. Ehindero cannot both have been correct. One of them was less than candid with Nigerians. Nigerians deserve to know and President Yar’Adua owes it to Nigerians find out and tells us,” added Mr. Nwanevu.

Mr. Balogun was forced to resign as Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police in February 2005 amidst allegations of criminal conduct. In November 2005, he pleaded guilty to eight counts of money laundering, corruption, theft of public resources, and unlawful enrichment involving assets valued at over $150 million.

The Nigeria Police Force lacks communications equipment and the infrastructure for effective investigations. Police Constables in Africa’s most populous country earn 5,158 Naira or $41.49, which is much  lower than the federal minimum wage of 7,000 Naira. The report adds: “The remuneration of police personnel, especially at the lower ranks, is below subsistence levels, leaving most of them in or on the margins of extreme poverty. Police personnel thus carry out their functions chronically dehumanized by their own impoverishment. This contributes to the general climate of police abuses, especially police extortion, but does not excuse it.”

 

PRESS STATEMENT

 NOPRIN calls for an Investigation on
…785 Suspected Robbers killed by Nigerian Police

 The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) calls for an immediate enquiry into the killing of 785 suspected robbers within 90 days by the Nigerian Police.

This claim was credited to the Inspector General of Police Mr. Mike Okiro, who was saying that the feat was part of his achievement during his first 90days in office. The report also has it that police had arrested almost 1600 suspected robbers within the same period.

There is reason to query whether the above statistics show sophistication in crime control or an indication of extrajudicial killings and incompetence in arresting suspects with a view to unraveling crime.

Crime prevention and fighting today has passed the era of merely killing suspects but arrests and proper investigation, that could lead to the identification of the cause, pattern and trend of crimes

It is therefore, very scandalous to say that the Nigerian Police seem to regard the killing of criminal suspects without trial as a thing of pride.

NOPRIN hereby calls on the National Assembly and the Police Service Commission to take immediate action and investigate this matter. The officers and men of the Police seem to be enjoying complete immunity for their actions while suspects are deprived their basic rights such as the right to fair hearing and such impunity must be stopped.

 

PRESS STATEMENT

13-06-2007

N21 Million SCAM

  • NOPRIN Calls For Comprehensive Investigation And Speedy Prosecution

  • Of All Culprits Involved.

The Network of Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) calls on President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to order a comprehensive investigation into the 21 Million Scam in the Nigerian Police Force Headquarters.

NOPRIN is concerned that this trend of fraud within the top echelon of the Police is becoming recurring and is seemingly only always uncovered after the exit of an Inspector General of Police and usually after the general elections.

NOPRIN believes that such situation again makes it imperative to have an independent authority to supervise appointment and conduct of the IGP by insulating it from politics and political influence by the presidency, a position NOPRIN has always canvassed.

NOPRIN hereby, calls on Mr. Mike Okiro to move swiftly like the deep-rooted Operations Officer that he is, to uncover all those involved in the dirty deal; irrespective of their status in and outside the force. Furthermore, the Network uses the opportunity to call on the Federal Government, and all the stakeholders in policing, to ensure the speedy passage of the police bill, which is seeking to review the 1943 Police Act. NOPRIN calls on the National Assembly to act with dispatch in considering such amendment.

This is also in furtherance to the commitment of President Yar’Aduas’ determination and that of his Administration to uphold the rule of law in order to reposition Nigeria for Peace, Prosperity and Security of lives and property. The passage of the bill and such other enabling laws will greatly enhance the capability of the Nigeria Police Force, which is presently serving at abysmally low ebb and has greatly failed to convince a vast Majority of Nigerians, that the Police Force as presently composed, is still relevant in the onerous task of providing Security.

Emeka Nwanevu

National Coordinator




PRESS STATEMENT

MARCH 2007

Alleged Police Involvement in Political Campaign Fracas

The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) has observed with dismay, the alleged role of some officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force, as collaborating with Politicians/Political Party leadership, in the reported cases of political fracas across the country, notably the Abeaokuta and Lagos Political campaign rally crises.

    NOPRIN rejects in all its ramifications, the use of the Police for such purposes other than those for which it is established and sustained with tax payers’ money. We reject political thuggrey in all ramifications and condemn all acts of unleashing terrorism on innocent citizens at political campaign rallies.

   Security, safety of lives and property of citizens and maintenance of law and order is the primary purpose of any police service all over the world and Nigeria cannot be an exception, hence every effort must be made by the Inspector General of Police to demonstrate and ensure the neutrality of the police force in politics and protect the image of the force.

    NOPRIN vehemently condemns such officers and men that allow themselves to be used to intimidate other political actors. This scenario may have led to some of the reported cases of misconduct that tend to smear the image of the Nigerian Police Force.

    The Network hereby urges the Nigeria Police high command, to keep track of these itinerant Police officers/men/women, with a view to bringing such acts of misdemeanor to book and ensuring that culprits are punished. This will curb such excesses and other official recklessness in future.

    NOPRIN is interested in a smooth electoral process that will ultimately lead to a successful transition to a new civilian leadership come May 2007.

About The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN)

The Network on police reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN), was established in July 2000, following a civil society interactive forum on Police reform in Nigeria; which was organized by The Centre for Law Enforcement Education in Nigeria (CLEEN) now CLEEN Foundation. The forum was organized in conjunction with the United States Agency for International Developments office of Transition Initiative (USAID/OTI) and the British Department for International Development (DFID), at Abuja Nigeria.

The main objectives of the Network Include to;

  • Identify issues for Reform in the Nigeria Police Force.
  • Provide opportunity for civil society input in the Police Reform process.
  • Strategize on Police-community relations.
  • Review efforts, prospects and problems encountered by NGOs on safety/security and
  • Create a platform for civil society involvement in safety and security issues in Nigeria

The work of NOPRIN focuses on six (6) thematic areas namely:

1.         Police-Community Relations.
2.         Police legislations and standing rules.
3.         Gender issues in Policing.
4.         Human Resources Training and Development.
5.         Police Operations, Logistics and Accountability and
6.         Police Welfare and Conditions of Service.

MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS

NOPRIN is a coalition of about forty one (41) member-organizations, spread all over Nigeria.

 

Emeka Nwanevu

National Coordinator

 

 

To contribute to engendering a safe, secure and just Society through an adequately trained, well equipped and motivated, professional and democratic Police Service that is respectful of human rights and enjoys the confidence and cooperation of the Community it serves .

  • To identify issues for reform in the Nigeria Police Force
  • To Provide opportunity for civil society input in the Police Reform process
  • To strategize on Police-community relation
  • To review efforts, prospects and problems encountered by NGOS on safety/security; and,
  • To create a platform for civil society involvement in safety and security issues in Nigeria

NEWSPAPER
 
 


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