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HURIWA Demands Urgent Overhaul of Nigeria Police, Calls for Modern Policing Practices

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ABUJA, Nigeria — The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has sharply criticized the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, for its continued use of highway checkpoints, calling for urgent and comprehensive police reforms in line with modern global policing standards.

In a strongly worded statement released on Tuesday, August 22, 2023, HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, described the persistence of checkpoints as an “outdated method of law enforcement” that erodes public trust and hinders the development of a truly professional police force.

The advocacy group took issue with the recent decision by the NPF to continue with roadblocks, a practice HURIWA considers obsolete and counterproductive.

“This persistence in outdated methods not only conflicts with global policing standards but also severely damages the relationship between law enforcement and citizens,” said Onwubiko.

HURIWA further pointed out the common practice of officers soliciting bribes from motorists at these checkpoints, commonly referred to as the ‘Roger Me’ syndrome, asserting that it undermines the force’s reputation and perpetuates a culture of corruption.

Drawing upon policing models from countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, HURIWA emphasized the need for Nigeria to move towards community-oriented, consent-based policing systems.

The advocacy group invoked the Peelian principles, which emphasize “policing by consent” and prioritize transparency, accountability, and integrity in police operations.

“While we understand the unique challenges faced by the Nigerian Police Force, such as historical factors and ethno-religious diversity, these cannot serve as an excuse for sticking to outmoded and ineffective tactics,” said the statement.

To that end, HURIWA urged the newly appointed Police Affairs Minister, Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, to prioritize reforms that include technology-driven crime-fighting methods.

“HURIWA believes that adopting modern technology will be a game-changer in restoring public confidence, enhancing operational efficiency, and fostering collaboration between the police and the public,” said the statement.

HURIWA concluded its release with a plea to the Nigerian government and police leadership to heed calls for genuine reform.

“The safety and security of all Nigerians depend on closing the trust deficit between the police and the public. The time for comprehensive reform is now,” stressed Onwubiko.

The statement adds another layer to the growing discourse on police reform in Nigeria, as citizens increasingly demand accountability and effectiveness from law enforcement agencies.

The spotlight now turns to how the NPF and the Nigerian government will respond to this vocal call for change.

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