Alleged incessant harassment of innocent citizens: Reps to probe Police

THE House of Representatives on Thursday resolved to investigate the Bauchi State Police Command over the  alleged “incessant intimidation and harassment of innocent citizens by the  officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force  in the state.

The House, which condemned the illegal act in strong terms, directed its Committee on Police Affairs to investigate the matter and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion under matters of urgent public importance moved by Hon Ahmed Yarima (APC, Bauchi), in which he called the attention of his colleagues to the act of lawlessness by the Police in the state and the “urgent need to investigate and curb incessant intimidation harassment of innocent citizens in Bauchi State.”

While moving the motion, the lawmaker wondered why the police, who were supposed to be state instruments for the protection of lives and property of the people, would turn on the same citizens for whom they were being paid to protect.

Hon Yarima lamented that the reverse was currently the case in Bauchi as the police in the state “are becoming  an instrument of political strife, witch-hunt and vendetta in the hands of government officials in the state.”

According to him, “we now have a situation whereby the state is under siege by the Nigeria Police Force. You can’t go to the police if your rights are violated because they will aggravate your situation by taking sides, you can’t go to court, because the judiciary is controlled by the same people who control the police

“In Bauchi metropolis and environs now, people can no longer gather  whether in the open or in a hall to hold meetings or discuss issues of mutual interest without the police raiding and arresting them on orders from above.

“Youths in the state are now criminalised based on perception that they are sympathetic to or work for perceived political opponents of those in power.”

While warning of an imminent collapse of security, law and order in the state if nothing is done urgently, Yarima urged the House to direct the committee to investigate the matter a report back in four weeks.

In his own contribution during the debate on the motion, Hon Johnson Agbonayinma (PDP, Edo) lambasted  the Bauchi State governor for enthroning impunity that turns the police against “the people whose mandate he enjoys.”

According to him,” this is one of the reasons I speak against immunity of chief executives in the states of the federation, as far as the law is concerned, nobody should be above the law, whether you are the president, governor, speaker, senate president or a member of the House.

“I understand what’s happening in Bauchi, and it’s very unfortunate that the people whom the government is supposed to serve are now at the receiving end of government excesses. A governor who was elected by the people now use state apparatus to intimidate and harass the same people whose mandate he enjoys. Is he above the law?

“I call on this House which is the last hope of the common man to rise to the occasion and nip this ugly scenario in the bud, enough is enough, Agbonayinma fumed.

When the motion was put into voice vote by the Speaker, Hon Yakubu Dogara, who presided over the plenary, it was unanimously passed.