Looking Beyond #EndSars Protests by Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin
Sometimes in 2016, the Women Arise through one of its registered trade marks – Nigerians Unite Against Terror (NUAT) – considered the need to address continued cases of citizens-police conflicts and the urgent need to enhance the capacity of officers of the Nigeria Police Force, particularly the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), on issues concerning their mode of operation and respect for human rights.
Subsequently, we embarked on a nationwide advocacy which eventually culminated in a series of meetings and plannings towards creating a veritable platform to address fundamental issues surrounding SARS activities.
Hence, an agreement between our group and the leadership of the Nigeria Police on the training of SARS personnel, which held across the 12 zonal commands of the force simultaneously between 19th October – 21st October , 2016.
The training, titled “Humans Rights: Strategies for cordial Police-Citizens’ Relations”, for SARS officers in the 12 Police Zonal Commands aimed at enhancing the capacity of the Nigeria Police Force through training on human rights and citizens’ relations with a view to facilitating respect and defence of the fundamental rights of citizens.
We also aimed to bring about cordial relationship between the citizen and the police.
Beyond a reorientation of the Police, it was also our aim to advocate for the eradication of crime and terror in the country by working with the Police and other law enforcement agencies, using training, campaign, education, information-sharing, network-building, and other sensitizations for police/citizens cordial relations to eradicate insecurity in Nigeria.
It is, therefore, saddening that after nearly four years, the police and its personnel are still entangled around issues that have been raised earlier.
This suggests a negligence of previous recommendations of how the police should conduct its engagement with citizens.
We do, therefore, sincerely hope that the ongoing agitations will ginger the police leadership to address these core issues and genuinely address our concerns as Nigerians.
Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin
Convener, Nigerians Unite Against Terror (NUAT)
14th October, 2020.