The Inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, on Tuesday, revealed that the Nigeria Police have in the last three years, paid over N1bn to Nigerians whose rights were trampled upon by policemen.
According to the IGP, Force Order 237 on the use of force by the police, has come under increasing local and international spotlights, which have formed the basis of court cases against the NPF.
Mr. Arase, who said officers must be adequately trained, briefed and held accountable for their decisions to use force, stressed that his office, in collaboration with international stakeholders, had begun moves to realign the order in line with global trends.
He stated these in Abuja during the opening ceremony of a three-day training workshop organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime with the theme, ‘The challenge of policing in an emerging democracy: Entrenching human rights-based approaches to use of force and firearms by Nigeria police officers’.
He said, “The contents of that Force Order has been construed as both controversial and the progenitor of human rights abuses by the NPF. It is also not in question that there is a virtual policy vacuum in respect of how and when firearms may be deployed and the circumstances governing the use of force by officers of the NPF.
“And in the past three years, the Police force has virtually paid out close to over N1bn in garnishees of our account for infringement or infraction of human rights of Nigerians. This is a democratic government and we expect that our policing should take the details of democracy.
“I just believe that funds that were deployed in garnishee orders should be re-channeled into the welfare of police officers”.
Arase said no person deserved to lose his life as a result of the absence of a clear policy guideline on the graduated use of force policy in the NPF.
The IG stressed the need for officers to be held strictly accountable on how they decide to deploy firearms.
“Therefore, our officers must be adequately trained, briefed and held accountable for their decision to use force. The era of impunity has passed beyond the ken of recall. We must do our best to modernise NPF’s tactical operational strategies to commensurate levels with international best practices”, he stated.