Lawyers differ on IGP’s order on use of ‘legitimate force’

The call by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu on policemen across the country to use “all legitimate force” to protect lives and property of Nigerians has been described as a reckless call for anarchy and mayhem.

Lawyer and head of the Centre for the Vulnerable and the Underprivileged (CENTREP), Oghenejabor Ikimi, gave the verdict on Saturday in Warri, Delta State.

He said the IGP’s statement smacks of someone sowing a seed of anarchy and chaos in the country.

But to the chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Warri branch, Emmanuel Uti, the order for police to “use legitimate force” to protect lives and property should be taken literally.

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According to him, “to ‘use all legitimate force’ means within the confines of the law clearly shows that what they must be guided by the law.

“What is legitimate is legitimate, except we want to give it extra meaning. If they go outside the legitimate provisions of the law, then it’s no longer legitimate.”

Speaking further on the IGP directive, Ikimi called on President Muhammadu Buhari and all Nigerians to condemn the statement credited to the IGP.

“The law is there that the police can use reasonable force. That’s the criminal code.

“The laws are there. But the police are not following the law. People are shot for failing to give N20 at checkpoints. There are a lot of illegalities.

“So for the IG to come and give them a blank cheque that they can defend themselves because they have guns, he is calling for anarchy. That is anarchy. IGP is sowing the seed of anarchy. He should be called to order by the President.

“Because making that statement is trying to legalise the illegalities in the police force. The IGP is trying to upturn all that has been done.

“Coming out openly that police should defend themselves is sowing a seed of anarchy. And every Nigerian should come out and condemn that statement.

“Did the IGP qualify legitimate force? He didn’t qualify it. The police can begin to unleash mayhem on innocent Nigerians.

“The law talks about using reasonable force to curtail an escaping criminal suspect but not to kill. We condemn the statement in all totality.”


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