As part of efforts to secure justice to the killing of Lagos lawyer, Mrs Omobolanle Raheem, by a policeman, the Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria, NRHJN, has called for mandatory psychological assessment of all policemen in Nigeria to determine their state of mental health.
Making the call in Lagos, Mrs. Yinka Shokunbi and Mrs. Sekinal Lawal, President and National Secretary of the Network respectively, observed that even though the Inspector General of Police has waded into the incident and ordered the speedy trial of all the men found culpable in the killing, it is important for the Police Force to conduct regular and periodic psychological checks within the police force.
The Network said the application of psychological testing on policemen had become crucial more than ever in the diagnosing and treating mental health conditions and disorders among them.
It would be recalled that about six years ago, as a result of the increase in cases of killing of innocent Nigerians from the misapplication of firearms by police officers, Mr Solomon Arase, who was the Inspector General of Police at that time, announced that psychological assessment and drug tests had been included as part of the medial assessment of police officers, and of persons recruited into the police force.
According to the then IGP, the policemen that failed the test would be regarded as psychologically unfit to handle firearms at that time, and would be denied access to firearms.
The Network said, “It is disheartening and very unwarranted the gruesome killing of innocent lawyer and mother of one, Mrs. Bolanle Raheem by a policeman at Ajah, Lagos State on Christmas Day, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022. The death of Bolanle Raheem from a gunshot wound according to a news report is the second by the policemen from this same Ajiwe Police station, Ajah, Lagos within a month.
“While the hierarchy of the Police has made arrests and sent the trigger-happy policemen behind the bars awaiting trial, members of the Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria demand that the Nigeria Police Force does more than send culprits behind bars.
”The killing of a pregnant woman in the presence of her family on a day of joy is heartless, inhuman, unjust, and dastardly to say the least,” the Network stated.
“We demand that the IGP ordered for a thorough investigation of the Ajiwe Police station and the claims that the station is notorious and find a way to include regular medical checkups including psychological checks on all members of the police who interface with the public. Enough is enough!”
According to the APA dictionary of psychology, a psychological assessment is the gathering and integration of data to evaluate a person’s behaviour, abilities, and other characteristics, particularly for the purposes of making a diagnosis or treatment recommendation.
Essentially, psychological assessment is a series of tests conducted by a psychologist, to gather information about how people think, feel, behave and react. The findings are used to develop a report of the person’s abilities and behaviour—known as a psychological report—which is then used as a basis to make recommendations for the individual’s treatment.
Psychologists assess diverse psychiatric problems (e.g., anxiety, substance abuse) and nonpsychiatric concerns (e.g., intelligence, career interests) in a range of clinical, educational, organisational, forensic, and other settings.
Each test has its own requirements that a qualified professional must meet in order for a person to administer the test.