Rights group berates Nigerian Army for ‘unlawful’ detention of police officers

A rights group, Committee for Democracy and Rights of the People, CDRP, has described as “unlawful, unwarranted and totally unacceptable” the detention of ten counter-terrorism police officers attached to the Nigeria Army peacekeeping operation in Abuja.

PREMIUM TIMES had exclusively reported the detention of 10 counter terrorism police officers since Tuesday without adequate care for refusing to wear military fatigues for an operation they feared could be illegal.

According to the detainees who spoke with this paper, they were detained on the instruction of a Colonel Kalejaye, head of the army forward operation base, because they refused his directive to “impersonate” soldiers by wearing their uniforms for training in Kaduna State.

Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday, the Acting National coordinator of CDRP, Saka Waheed, said the detainees are human and citizens of Nigeria before they are police officers and whatever crime they may have committed in the eyes of Nigeria Army they should be treated based on Nigerian laws.

“The detention of the policemen is a confirmation of institution disagreement and self-serving superiority of one outfit over another” Saka said.

“What is the offence of these officers that warrant detention without due clearance from the Force Headquarters? Who authorised their deployment to Jaji?

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“Why take them to a military base in Gwagwalada instead of force headquarters? So many questions begging for answer.

“Their detention even raises an institutional culpability on the part of Nigeria Police,” it said while calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the ten officers.

“We also implore the Nigerian police and Nigeria army and by extension all other paramilitary to synergise their operations for effective security of nation” Mr. Saka said.

After his earlier confirmation of the detention of the police officers, the police spokesperson, Emmanuel Ojukwu, on Saturday told PREMIUM TIMES that the police was still investigating the detention. The Army spokesperson, Sani Usman, who has refused to comment on the matter referred all enquiries to Mr. Ojukwu.

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