A Human Rights Group, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), has cautioned against the misinterpretation of the recent repeated directive of the Inspector General of Police for operatives to ‘defend themselves when their lives are in danger’.
The RULAAC Executive Director, Okechukwu Nwanguma, was on Monday, reacting to an online video where an arms-wielding policeman was boasting that the IGP has given them license to kill.
In the trending video, the policeman was seen retorting at a driver that ‘the IGP has given order for them to shoot at any illegal gathering and that the the blood of his brother killed during the ENDSARS protest is still crying for revenge.
He went further to say that he know 50 people he will kill Immediately if any form of protest comes up again, emphasizing that he is no longer protecting Nigerians..
Nwanguma while speaking with TNC correspondent today in Awka on the matter, expressed concern that while the IGP’s charge seems ordinarily legitimate and lawful, it has a high potential of being misinterpreted and exploited by trigger-happy and vengeance-seeking police officers to commit more acts of extrajudicial killing.
“I have severally pointed out and cautioned about the danger inherent in the IGP’s repeated directive to police officers to ‘defend themselves when their lives are in danger’. I did say that while this charge seems ordinarily legitimate and lawful, it has a high potential of being misinterpreted and exploited by trigger-happy and vengeance-seeking Police Officers to commit more acts of extrajudicial killing.
“The trending video showing an arm-bearing bearing police officer in uniform, gloating that the IGP has given police officers order to kill protesters and that he knows at least fifty people he would kill if they come out to protest, bears me out,” he pointed out.
The RULAAC Boss pointed out that the EndSARS protests and the aftermath came with lessons that everyone including government, security agencies and citizens must learn from to avert the igniting a situation more serious than what was recently witnessed.
“The #EndSARS protest and everything that came with it or followed it were triggered by rampant incidents of Police Killings in the past and immediately before the protest, and the failure by appropriate authorities to bring perpetrators to account and guarantee justice to victims. One of the unfortunate and condemnable features of the widespread violence that erupted and provoked by the brutal killing and suppression of peaceful protesters by security forces was the targeting of, and needless attacks on Police Officers and assets in many states,” Nwanguma posited.
He made it clear that it will be rash to tar all Police Officers with the same brush, adding that there are many Police Officers who have never abused firearms, who stand firmly against Police brutality and killing of fellow citizens whom they are charged and paid to protect.
“It is however unfathomable and preposterous for the government or Police authorities to continue to brood over the killing of Police Officers without acknowledging the indisputable fact that the attacks targeted at the police were the venting of many years of bottled up anger over widespread police brutality. What is needed is for everyone to demonstrate that lessons have been learned; that the authorities will show greater commitment to preventing, punishing and ending impunity for Police Killings in order to avoid a repeat of consequences, as we witnessed,” the RULAAC Boss said.