The Nigeria Diaspora Security Forum has called for the introduction of Closed Circuit Televisions in police interrogation rooms across the country to check allegations of torture of crime suspects.
In a statement on Friday, the group expressed concern about the latest report issued by Amnesty International revealing detailed account of alleged torture by Nigeria Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in detention cells.
“It is important that Nigeria Police Force revisit their Police Reform Strategy and consider a top-bottom revamp of police culture because the lip service approach to policing by consent needs to stop,” the group said in a statement issued by its Chair, Temitope Olodo.
“NDSF is calling on the leadership of Nigeria Police Force to introduce some practical initiatives to stamp out corruption, torture and indiscipline in the police force such as:
“Establishment of an independence team to investigate and recommend better ways to handle welfare in Nigeria Police detention cells across the country,” said Mr. Olodo.
“Introduction of CCTV in interrogation rooms and establishment of Police and Community Police Forums across the 700 plus local government areas of the federation to ensure community ownership of policing in their local areas.”
Amnesty International had, in a report titled “In Nigeria: You have signed your death warrant,” said SARS, set up to combat crime had instead been systematically torturing detainees in its custody as a means of extracting confessions and lucrative bribes.
The report, released on Monday, said former detainees confessed they were subjected to horrific torture method, including hanging, starvation, beatings, shootings and mock executions, at the hands of corrupt officers from SARS.
But in a swift reaction, the Nigeria Police Force rejected the report, describing it as “misleading, a clear misrepresentation of facts, unverified accounts and absolute distortion of the current situation in Special Anti-Robbery Squad [SARS] throughout the country.”
In its statement, the NDSF called on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to declare a war of corruption within the Police Force and improve the image of the security establishment.
“Nigeria Diaspora Security Forum (NDSF) is calling on Nigeria Inspector General of Police to explore diversification of Nigeria Police Force recruitment strategy to inject professionals at middle and senior level of the Force to help stamp out the culture of corruption that is plaguing the security establishment,” the group said.