By James Ogunnaike
Retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG Peter Ogunyanwo has identified lack of human right courses and poor remuneration of police officers as some of the factors responsible for some of the infractions that led to abuse of human rights by police officers in the country.
Ogunyanwo, a member of the Ogun Judicial Panel of Investigation made this known in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, while reacting to a case of Mr. Olalekan Olakitan Solomon, a petitioner who petitioned CSP Adesina Oyetunji, DSP Sarafa Raheem and Inspector Oladeni Samson for violating his right, extortion and illegal detention.
After cross-examining the officers, Ogunyanwo said it is saddening to know that CSP Adesina Oyetunji and DSP Sarafa Raheem only had four and six trainings respectively throughout their over 33 years in the force without human rights courses.
The panel member advised that an average police officer should know that without the public, he or she cannot do this job effectively, adding that police should not see members of the public as their enemies or servants and the public should also respect and love security operatives.
“Without security operatives, the public cannot live in peace and the security personnel cannot do it alone too, both should partner together for peace to reign because, without peace, there cannot be development. That is the spirit behind community policing that the federal government is pushing for”, DIG Ogunyanwo noted.
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The retired DIG who called for attitudinal change in the way police officers perform their duties advised that investigation should be carried out diligently as teamwork so that cases are not thrown out of court on the basis of lack of proper investigation.
He, therefore, called on government and other stakeholders in charge of police training to include courses on human rights abuse and violations in the force training curriculum.
Ogunyanwo noted that many of the police officers find themselves in the mess of abusing citizens rights because majority of them never receive any training on such as affirmed by an Inspector who revealed that he never received any training nor take any course on human rights throughout his 28 years of enrolment in the force.
The retired DIG added that all that the government is trying to do by setting up the panel of enquiry was not to witch hunt police officers but to make police and other security operatives learn how to protect the rights of the people as well as get justice for the abused.
On his part, the Chairman of the Panel, Justice Solomon Olugbemi warned security operatives to desist from harassing, intimidating or threatening any petitioner, saying that some petitioners have been withdrawing their complaints on the basis of harassment and intimidation by police officers.
Olugbemi added that any security personnel who is found to be intimidating any petitioner would be appropriately prosecuted saying the act is an offence under the law.