The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has said that Nigeria Police must be fixed, restore public confidence and make the institution once more deserving of the true faith and support of the Nigerian people.
Declaring open a public hearing by the House Committee on Police Affairs chaired by Rep Usman Bello Kumo at the National Assembly on Tuesday, the Speaker bemoaned the recent alleged extrajudicial killing of a footballer by men of the Nigeria police in Sagamu, Osun State.
He described as unfortunate a situation where some men of the Nigeria police, saddled with the constitutional responsibility of protecting the lives and property of the people, turn out to be against the citizens. He said the House would not accept extrajudicial killings, harassment, intimidation and other forms of violence unleashed on innocent citizens by some men of the Nigeria Police.
“More than any other institution of the State, it is the police force that relates to the citizens daily. In many communities across Nigeria, the Police Force is the only representative of the Nigerian state, and the connection between our citizens and the state is often defined by their interactions with the Nigeria Police.
“It is unfortunate and entirely unacceptable that the relationship between the police and many of these communities is now defined by fear, mutual antagonism and an absolute loss of faith in the ability of the police to protect and to serve.
In the last few days, we have all witnessed as the city of Sagamu in Ogun State has been unsettled by an orgy of violence resulting from the extrajudicial killing of a young footballer by officers of the Nigerian Police”, he said. He added that although the public hearing with the theme ‘Repositioning the Nigeria Police for an Enhanced Delivery’ might come with some uncomfortable truths, the Nigeria Police should take home the contributions of stakeholders as they would be the ultimate beneficiaries.
He noted that when the agencies that should protect the lives and property of the people “become predatory, they lose the faith of the public and become incapable of delivering on this responsibility. “When the public are as afraid of the police as they are of the criminals, and perhaps even more so, the very fundamentals of our nationhood are at stake.
We are confronted with an urgent need, deserving of our utmost attention and dedication. “This public hearing has been convened to examine the ways we in the House of Representatives can act to improve the capacity of the Nigerian Police to deliver on its obligations to our people.
“We cannot do that job effectively if we do not first allow for an honest assessment of our current reality. We will not achieve much of substance if we shy away from confronting the failures of recruitment and training, remuneration and welfare, responsibility and accountability that have left us with a national police force that is too often unfit for purpose.”