The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, has reiterated the commitment Nigeria Police Force to the rule of law and human rights best practices in the discharge of its constitutional mandate.
He made the statement at the opening of a two-day human rights training programme organised by the Nigerian police force, in collaboration with Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), a non-governmental organisation in Umuahia on Monday.
According to Idris who was represented by the Deputy IGP in charge of Training and Development, Sani Mohammed; “the fundamental duties of a police officer include serving the community, safeguarding lives and property, protecting the innocent, keeping peace and ensuring that the rights of all to liberty, equality and justice is respected.”
To achieve this, he disclosed that an enhanced human rights teaching syllabi were developed to address gaps in the existing police teaching curriculum in police training institutions, particularly the area dealing with human rights principles.
He disclosed also that a human rights training manual was developed as a major resource for the teaching of Human Rights Principles in police training, to further achieve the target objective.
The IG said he was sure that the seminars and workshops being organised for police officers would go a long way to equip them with the necessary skills to protect human rights in the discharge of their duties.
He said; “It offers the opportunity to equip us with the necessary skills, knowledge and attitudes to effectively discharge our duties in accordance with the rule of law and in accordance with human rights best practices.”
He explained that the training resulted from a dialogue between the Swiss Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Police Service Commission and the Police, the National Human Rights Commission, UN agencies and specialised NGOs for the exchange of skills in the field of education and training to promote and protect human rights.
In his speech, Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, appreciated the organisers of the programme pointing out that capacity building for the police would help them in providing excellent policing.
According to him, the multiplier effect of the programme will boost the efforts of the Federal Government to make Nigeria become economically robust and successful.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Chris Ezike, remarked that the focus in policing had shifted to community policing, noting that it could not be achieved without respect for human rights.
He called on the participants to ensure they put into practice the training they would receive to make positive contributions towards the improvement of the police organisation and humanity.
In her own remarks, the Deputy Head of Mission of Swiss Embassy in Nigeria, Anne-Beatrice Bullinger, described efforts made to promote the principles of human rights as valuable and commendable.
“We are going to help support this drive to build a police force that will not be a threat to the people but will protect the people,” she said.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Executive Director of PRAWA, Uju Agomoh, said it was imperative for the police to mainstream human rights principles in its operations while the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of the state, Ume Kalu, noted that human rights were integral to the ethos of society and the police had the responsibility to protect them.
Participants at the training were drawn from the police force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Department of State Services (DSS) and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).