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2011: Police get riot act on rule of law

By Kingsley Omonobi

ABUJA—Ahead of the general elections in 2011, the Federal Government has enjoined the Nigeria Police to align itself with the rule of law principle of the administration, following the abrogation of the Public Order Act, especially in controlling demonstrations and civil protests.
Government’s warning came even as the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo explained that in democratic policing, power is limited to and consistent with values such as those expressed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, noting that the basic principle of law enforcement which recognizes the fundamental rights of the people is upheld and the police held accountable for its actions.

Emphasizing why the Police should apply the rule of law to demonstrations and civil protests at a three-day Institutional Capacity Building for the Nigeria Police Force organised by the Foundation for Peace and Security Education in collaboration with the IGP, Special Adviser to the President on Relations with Civil Society, Mr. Chineme Ume-Ezeoke said, “this is the surest way to enhance the use of the enabling environment created by Mr. President.”

“It is obvious that with the return to multi-party democratic governance, the space for civil liberties and freedom of expression of the citizens has largely expanded. As democracy takes root in our nation and the enviable adoption of the rule of law principle by the present administration, the consciousness of the people of their rights to dissent and expression of same through demonstrations and civil protests will definitely take a deeper root in our society”, Ume-Ezeoke said.


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