By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA—HUMAN Rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, said, yesterday, that Nigeria needs more than a million active policemen in order to ensure peace reigns in the country.
Speaking at an Interactive Seminar of the Ogun State Police Community Relations Committee, PCRC, and Federal-Special Anti-Robbery Squad, F-SARS, in Abeokuta, Falana also stated that Nigeria could not afford to scrap the arm of the Nigerian Police Force.
Speaking on the theme: ‘Between combating crime and protection of human rights’, he said only about 200,000 policemen are active among the 350,000 policemen available to police over 180 million Nigerians.
Falana said: “SARS is not going to be abolished. What is going to happen is that we are going to reform SARS-like the Nigerian Police Force.
“In the spirit of federalism or restructuring, state police is desirable but care has to be taken so that what we call oppression from the federal government, will not be transferred to the states and local governments.
“Since 1999, the Police Service Council, PSC, hardly meets. I have been forced to write a letter to call a meeting of the PSC to discuss the reckless killings in the country if the meeting is not called.
“If you want to blame impunity in Nigeria, blame the Nigerian lawyers. These crimes are state offences. How come the perpetrators are not prosecuted by our Attorney Generals? I call on them to prosecute them without further delay.
”Religious and traditional leaders must stop identifying with ethnicity and religion in all these crimes. The killing of one Nigerian is a threat to our survival. We must rise up against all killings.”
“I urge the president to engage in massive recruitment of policemen all over the country. Lagos, for instance, requires not less than 200,000 policemen. We need to vote money to train and equip them.”
Also speaking at the event, Commissioner of Police in the state, Ahmed Ilyasu warned all policemen to respect the rights of suspects always. He also advised them to live above board.