The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), a human rights advocacy group, has called on the Police Service Commission (PSC) to investigate an increase in extrajudicial killings by the Nigerian Police following the #EndSARS protests.
In a letter written to the commission, RULAAC said “there is a disturbing increase in incidents of police misuse of firearms and extrajudicial killing across the country,” and the commission needs to investigate.
Okechukwu Nwanguma, the executive director of RULAAC, said the development, coming so soon after the experience of the #EndSARS protests is a serious cause for concern and it is indicative that the police have learned no lessons from the #EndSARS experience.
“It was never expected that such a high number of cases of unprovoked and unlawful police killings would so soon be recorded in Nigeria post the EndSARS protest,” he wrote in the letter.
He said the act appears to be encouraged by illegal police orders banning civic protests, and the often-repeated directives to police officers by the Inspector General of Police to use force to quell protests.
PREMIUM TIMES in October reported how thousands of youths took to the streets to campaign against the brutality and extrajudicial killing by a police unit, SARS, as well as call for police reforms.
The protests, which lasted several days in many cities across Nigeria, had economic activities held at a standstill with youth campaigning against bad policing.
The protests, however, came to a halt after officers from the Nigerian Army opened fire on armed protesters at Lekki toll gate on October 20, with some killed and many injured.
Barely two months after the protests, RULAAC said it has noted that extrajudicial killing by the police is on the rise.
Citing examples of post-EndSARS killings, the group said a man was shot dead by a team of drunk police officers at Queens Court Hotel, Ekiti on November 21, while another man, identified as Jude Oguzie, was killed at a checkpoint in Orodo, Imo State by another team of officers on December 5.
In Rivers State, youths in Obio Akpor, Rivers State took to the streets on December 10, after the alleged killing of a tricycle operator by an officer for refusing to pay N100 bribe.
PREMIUM TIMES also reported how a young journalist with Gboah TV, Pelumi Onifade, was murdered by men of the Lagos State Task Force – comprising police officers – on October 24.
“RULAAC is seriously concerned about increasing incidents of police misuse of firearms and extrajudicial killing across the country,” the group wrote in the letter.
It further said the “arrest and detention” of police officers responsible for extrajudicial killings in the past by police authorities has never been a guarantee of genuine commitment by police authorities in ensuring perpetrators are prosecuted and victims or their families accorded adequate remedies and compensation.
The group calls on the Police Service Commission to ensure that these cases of extrajudicial killing of citizens by police officers are not swept under the carpet.
“The commission should ensure thorough investigations into these cases to ensure that the police officers responsible are prosecuted and adequate compensations paid to the victims,” the group wrote.
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