Extra-judicial killings by policemen unacceptable, affected officers to be prosecuted — IGP

The Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Mr Mohammed Adamu, has decried the incessant killing of innocent persons in Lagos state by policemen, saying it is unacceptable.

Adamu stated this in Lagos on Monday while addressing officers and men of the command at the Police College, Ikeja.

He said that his visit to the state was scheduled for later in the year, but that he had to make it now because of the incessant extra-judicial killings.

According to him, such incidents were pitching the force against the citizens they pledged to serve and protect.

The IG needed to make clear statements to the police, condole the families of victims of the killings and re-assure the people that police authorities would not condone any form of abuse of power.

“From January to April, 2019, Lagos State has recorded four incidents of misuse of firearms which have resulted in extra-judicial killings of young citizens of this country and injury to others.

‘’More worrisome is that two of these incidents occurred within the last two weeks.

“Aside negating our professional calling, extra-judicial acts of any description or level by any police personnel is an unacceptable anomaly that creates disdain between the citizens and their police and widen the trust gap between them,’’ he said.

He warned that any police personnel that insisted on remaining incorrigible by engaging in abuse of his or her powers or misuses his weapons in utter disregard to statutory provisions would be arrested.

“The person will be investigated through our internal disciplinary machinery and if found culpable, shall be dismissed from service.

“In addition, such personnel will be charged to court for murder or sundry offences depending on his or her level of criminal liability in the instance.

“Furthermore, the line supervisors of such officer, including the Area Commander, Divisional Police Officer or Sectional Head, shall be held vicariously liable for lacking supervision and shall be similarly sanctioned.

“In the long term, rather than the use of firearms, we shall henceforth use technologies and weapon systems such as electro-muscular disruption technology, commonly known as Taser or Stun guns by police.

“It will be used for routine patrols as a strategic approach towards reducing incidents of fatalities associated with misapplication of lethal weapons by the police.

“In perfecting these initiatives, we shall be engaging with Human Rights Bodies, International Agencies, Development Partners and Civil Society Organisations,” Adamu said.

He said that in the coming days, more administrative actions directed at giving a new orientation to all police personnel and restructuring of Lagos state command would be undertaken.

“This may involve personnel re-organisation. There will be nationwide tailor-made training and capacity development programmes that are directed at reorientation of personnel in compliance with human rights and professional conducts.

The IG, however, commended policemen in the command for their dedication to crime-fighting and encouraged them to do more in line with international standards.

Earlier in his address, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Zubairu Muazu, had expressed dissatisfaction that the IG was visiting the command under unpleasant circumstances.

“The Lagos State Police Command would have loved to welcome the IG on a better note than the one that brought him.

“It is sad and unfortunate that the I-G is visiting Lagos due to the continuous misdemeanour of some policemen in Lagos.

“However, `the command is blessed with hardworking officers, working day-in and day-out to make sure that crime is reduced to the barest minimum,” he said.

Muazu assured the IG and the public that the command would continue to work hard to make Lagos safe.

Also, the IG who later paid a courtesy visit to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, speaking at the Alausa state house vowed that all the affected officers involved in recent cases of extra-judicial killings recorded in Lagos State would be charged to court and made to face the law.

Mohammed said it was on record that police officers in the state had been performing creditably, but that the activities of few unscrupulous ones were denting the good work of others.

“I came to pay a courtesy visit to the Governor because I am in Lagos State to see the officers and men of the Nigerian Police.

“I came to talk to them on good behaviour and to remind them of ethics of the job. We are to serve members of the public; we are not their masters, we are their servants.

“The officers and men in Lagos State have been doing a lot of good job in fighting crime and they have been succeeding, but the acts of few officers out of many in Lagos State are denting the good works that others have done,” he said.

Mohammed said that the situation was unbecoming and he had to come down to talk to officers to remind them of their duties.

“Recently, we have had some overzealous officers who went out of their way in the course of performing their duties; they shot a lady and she died, and we felt that is not acceptable.

“Anybody that goes out of his way to commit extra-judicial killing, such a person is on his own and he has to face the wrath of the law.

“In this particular case, the officers that were involved have been arrested; they have been tried in our internal way of dealing with such issue, and at the same time, they will be charged to court,” Mohammed said.

He commended Ambode for the massive support to the police and other security agencies in the state.

According to him, the successes recorded in keeping the state safe would not have been possible if not for the governor’s support.

Responding, Ambode commended the IG for taking it upon himself to promptly address the extra-judicial killings in the state personally.

He said it showed responsiveness and seriousness with which the issue was being handled by the IG.

“I want to commend the IG for this visit. Beyond the fact that this is a courtesy visit, like he has said  he is coming promptly to address the issue of extra-judicial killings that have actually taken place in the last few weeks.”

Ambode said with 33,000 officers policing a population of about 24 million in Lagos, the police was already overstretched.

He, however, assured that the State Government would continue to support the Police and other security agencies to ensure that they carry out their duties lawfully.