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Politics

National Assembly Urged To Pass Law Criminalizing Rogue Police Officers Who Extort Nigerians

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked the National Assembly to pass a law criminalizing systemic extortion of Nigerians by “rogue police officers”.

HURIWA alleged on Sunday that there is an unprecedented rise in the systematic extortion of victims of crime by police operatives and top ranked officers before their cases are investigated and resolved.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, called on the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun to “roll out transparent mechanisms and an effective template against extorting victims of crimes.”

The Rights group said verbalisation of condemnation of this criminal tendency by police operatives as made earlier in the year by the Force public relations office was grossly insufficient.

HURIWA advised that the police should set up a data bank of police officers caught in the act of extortion and ensure they are sanctioned accordingly.

“HURIWA recalled the case of of an Abuja based flight dispatcher who hails from Nasarawa State, Umar Suleiman, whose daughter Khadijat, went missing in the Kuje Area council of the Federal Capital Territory in 2016, who reported the disappearance of his then two and half years old baby daughter to the FCT police command, but the investigator made series of requests which the victim of crime couldn’t afford and for seven years, his daughter is still missing and no effort has been made by the FCT police command to unravel the identity of the lone female kidnapper,” the statement partly reads.

HURIWA complained that those charged with police oversight, discipline, and reform have for years failed to take effective action, thereby” reinforcing impunity for police officers of all
ranks who regularly perpetrate crimes against the citizens they are mandated to
protect.”

The statement reads further, “Meanwhile, victims of crime are obliged to pay the police from the moment they enter a police station to file a complaint until the day their case is brought before a court.

“In the shadows, high-level police officials embezzle staggering sums of public funds meant to cover basic police operations.

“Senior police officers also enforce a perverse system of “returns” in which rank-and-file officers are compelled to pay up the chain of command a share of the money they extort from the public.

“HURIWA said the aforementioned report by the USA based Non-governmental organisation (HRW), is not only factually accurate and have become even more widespread, but the Rights group is shocked that no legal or institutional efforts by the police or the Federal legislative body, has been made to checkmate these daredevil activities of the extortion rackets within the Nigerian police force that has constituted a very real and present danger to efficiency and effectiveness of policing tasks by the Nigerian police force.”

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