Ben Ezechime, Enugu
A human rights group, Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN); has appealed for President Bola Tinubu’s intervention over alleged Police brutality in the South-East geo-political zone.
This was contained in a letter addressed to the President and signed by Olu Omotayo Esq, President of CRRAN, and made available to Ikengaonline in Enugu.
In the letter, the group cited alleged attacks on two lawyers namely Chinaka Chigozie Esq. and Desmond kakaan Esq, within a week.
Omotayo claimed that some Police stations in the South-East region of Nigeria had become a place of terror to the citizens of the zone.
He said: “Your Excellency will agree that the hallmark of democracy is the respect for the fundamental rights of citizens.
“We also submit that no democratically elected government has the power to suspend the Chapter 4, of the Constitution on Fundamental Rights of the People of this country which now appears to be the case in South-East Nigeria since the emergence of this government.
“The fact that there are incidents of random security breaches and violence in some local government areas does not mean that there is anarchy in the region to warrant the increase in rights violations by the Police.
“The Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen Taoreed Lagbaja, speaking on the security situation, maintained sometimes in the month of September 2023, that security situation in the South-East has improved.
“In view of the increase in rights violations by the Police, citizens and lawyers are now afraid to go near police stations to seek for release of their detained loved ones.”
In the petition CRRA stated some alleged human right violations and brutality committed by members of the force and condemned such actions.
“We condemn in an unequivocal term the unlawful attack, torture and detention of these two lawyers.
“We also condemn the increase in cases of police brutality on citizens in South-East Nigeria.
“It is a terrible situation that at 63rd Independence anniversary of this nation, Police who are supposed to protect and be friendly to the citizens will now be a terror and nightmare to the people, ” Omotayo said.
The rights group further claimed that it was now easier to access military officials to make complaint and get redress than the Nigeria Police Force.
“We submit that Lawyers and the citizens should be free to approach Police stations (as obtainable in Lagos and other advanced jurisdictions) and enquire about their loved ones in detention.
“We are making this urgent appeal to the President because the Inspector General of Police and the Chairman Police Service Commission have done little or nothing to address this sad development in South-East Nigeria,” CRRAN stated.