Rights Commission releases report on police, rates Abuja, Lagos high

National Human Rights Commission boss

National Human Rights Commission boss

The National Human Rights Commission has released its report on the inspection of police stations across the nation. The exercise was conducted from 18-23 November, 2013.

The commission rated the selected stations using four parameters namely; physical conditions, community orientation, equal treatment of the public, transparency and accountability and detention conditions.

On the reason for the inspection, NHRC stated the exercise was in compliance with its mandate adding that its inspectoral scope extends to all detention facilities in the country.

It states ,“The visitation to police stations was conducted in line with the Commission’s legal mandate as stated in Section 6 (1) [d] of the National Human Rights Commission (Amendment) Act 2011, which empowers the Commission to visit prisons, police cells and other places of detention in order to ascertain the conditions thereof and make recommendations to the appropriate authorities”.

The Commission disclosed in the report that it engaged the service of its staff, local community citizens and groups to conduct the visitation adding that “1,115 visitors participated in the visits; 566 (51%) of them were females while 549 (49%) were male. 369 police stations were visited in 21 Police State Commands namely Abia, Abuja- FCT, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Lagos, Nassarawa, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers and Zamfara states”.

Explaining how the data were gathered, the rights body said that the inspectors were grouped into teams to ease the coverage of the selected police stations .

It said based on the feedback obtained from the inspectors, Karu Police Station in Abuja emerged the best with100% score. The second best was Ilupeju Police Station in Lagos – 97.33%, followed by Ikoyi Police Station, Lagos – 96%, Adatan Police Station, Ogun – 95.33%, Victoria Island Police Station, Lagos- 94.33%, New Haven Police Station, Enugu – 93.67%, Badagry( Lagos ) and Life Camp Police Station(Abuja) – 92.33%, Ijanikin Police Station – 91.33%, Airport Command, Uyo and Trade Fair Police Station (Lagos) – 91%, Birnin Kudu Police Station, Jigawa – 87.67%.

The body also noted in the report that in line with global practice most police stations in the country have started imbibing the practice of community policing. Many in recent past have been clamouring for the decentralization of the police in Nigeria.

“We have discovered that the Police Stations in Nigeria have imbibed the principle of Community Policing. There are more police stations that have ongoing community police interaction programs.

“These programs are given different names and are organised to fit local realities. These Police Stations are having interactions with local associations, artisans, voluntary policing groups, landlord residence associations etc.

“The Community Police Interactive Platforms give the Police opportunity to interact with their local community members, they let them know how to make reports at the police stations, some of them have open forums for receiving and treating complaints, others have designated Alternative Dispute Resolution Officers and Neighborhood Watch Officers.

“Counseling services are also being provided by faith based groups. We found this in the following police stations that were visited in 2013, the NHRC report states.

The body therefore canvassed that its findings will be used to develop “Guidelines to improve the conditions of detention facilities in police stations across the country and develop Human Rights trainings for the police based on areas of challenges that have been identified”.

For the success of the exercise, the commission specifically commended the CLEEN Foundation, which it described as a dependable ally and Altus, an alliance of 6 NGOs and Academic Centres working in the area of public safety and security from a multicultural perspective.