Thursday, March 31, 2016 6:16 am
The Minister of Interior, retired Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau has attributed the high number of persons awaiting trials in prisons across the country to poor investigations by the police.
Over 70 to 80 per cent of inmates across Nigerian prisons are awaiting trials.
Dambazau spoke on Wednesday in Abuja at the 2016 Police Week Seminar and launch of a compendium, entitled: Nigeria Police Force (1861-2016).
The theme of the seminar is: “International Human Rights Standards and Trends in Community-Driven Policing.”
Dambazau advised the police to carry out thorough investigations before arresting suspects to avoid prison congestion.
The minister warned police officers against presuming an accused guilty of an offence before prosecution.
He said that the onus of proof of committal lie squarely with the prosecutor and not the accused.
“All eyes are on you because of the roles you play with both individuals and groups in the society,’’ he said.
He said that a lot was expected from the police whom the public sees as the custodian of law and order.
The minister urged the police to focus on training and retraining, among others, adding “without these you cannot carry out your professional mandate.“
Earlier, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, said that policing under a democratic setting imposes a sacred and indeed, legal obligation of respect for citizens’ rights on law enforcement agents.
He said that the rule of law and human rights-driven policing approaches were critical components of his strategic policing plan on assumption of office.
Arase said that the occasion was aimed at entrenching the virtues of rule of law in policing as well as recognise, “articulate and present our rich history and policing journey.’’
Prof. Akin Ibidapo-Obe, Dean Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, in his paper, urged the police to review its recruitment process to ensure that qualified persons were recruited.
The paper is entitled: International Human Rights Standard for the Management of Civil Disorder by the Police
He also urged the police to pay more attention to the mental attributes of the recruits than the physical attributes during recruitment.
Ibidapo-Obe said that there must be constant training and retraining of police officers for effective discharge of their duries.
The high point of the occasion was the launch of a compendium, entitled: Nigeria Police Force (1861-2016).
NAN reports that the compendium documents the nearly 145 years history of the Nigeria Police from the colonial days to modern time.