In what looks like an admission of high level corruption in the Nigeria Police, Acting Inspector-General of Police, IGP Solomon Arase, has vowed to rid the Force of the hydra-headed monster.
The IGP also promised a human rights-driven policing in order to address citizens’ concerns for custodial violence, which include abuse of power of arasepre-trial detention, poor and inhabitable custodial facilities, violations of rights of detentions, forced confessions, misuse of firearms, among others.
The Police Chief, who made the pledge yesterday at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, during his inaugural conference with strategic police managers, also promised a police-community partnership.
He said: “The loss of public respect and confidence in the Police as well as our inability to effectively tackle crimes in the most ethical and professional manner have been widely attributed to the challenge of corruption within the policing system. This administration intends to pursue a two-way approach in addressing the menace of corruption in the police. The first is to develop frameworks and interventions that will address the root causes of corruption. In this regard, official factors like logistics and welfare challenges that create grounds for corrupt tendencies by police officers will be vigorously addressed.
“The second approach is to pursue a very robust anti-corruption enforcement strategy that will leave no serving police officer and citizens under any illusion about its integrity, a firm commitment to national ethical rebirth and development. The drive will be clear, coordinated, massive, firm and sustained and it will target and tackle issues relating to commercialisation of bail process, the nuisance of roadblocks, abuse of police powers, particularly in relation to pre-trial detention,” he said.
Arase said the enforcement process of the policy will engender the rejuvenation, refocusing, empowerment and motivation of the monitoring units, x-squads and provost marshal sections of the Force to enhance their competence and to effectively position them to lead the anti-corruption drive. “Accordingly, very soon, the nation will witness a massive and sustained nationwide deployment of the anti-corruption action units of the Force for enforcement functions. The enforcement initiatives will, however, be laced with in-house and national public anti-corruption enlightenment programmes, a whistle-blowing mechanism, and push for enhanced welfare and logistics empowerment as a preventive measure to petty corruption in the Force.
“I must sound a note of warning here. The new anti-corruption crusade of the Force will take full cognisance of the appropriate sections of our criminal laws and hold both the giver and taker of bribes accountable. Accordingly, much as official corruption will be dealt with in the Force, corrupt-minded members of the public are sternly warned to refrain from corrupting the police system as they will also be brought to the justice they equally deserve,” he said.
The 18th indigenous IGP said aside his anti-corruption policy, which is his core policing vision, the issue of human rights abuses of the citizenry by officers and men of the Force will be dealt with in line with the provisions of the universal declaration of human rights and fundamental human rights provisions as enshrined in Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
Arase also believes that application of intelligence-led policing strategy will discourage custodial approach to investigations as the intelligence assets of the Force would have been deployed to gather evidence before a suspect will be considered for arrest. “It will also shorten the time between arrest and commencement of prosecution”, he reasoned.
He therefore ordered the immediate re-opening of Nigeria Police Intelligence School, Enugu, which has been closed to academic activities over a year with effect from Monday May 4, for the commencement of training for intelligence operatives, analysts and strategic intelligence managers to support the intelligence-led policing vision of his leadership.