NBA, police collaboration, imperative for rule of law
By Nosa Akenzua
The Nigeria Delta state police command, on Monday, harped on the imperative of collaboration with the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, for the purpose of upholding the rule of law and human rights in the discharge of the constitutional responsibilities of protecting lives and property of the citizenry.
The assistant commissioner of police in charge of Ozoro Area Command, ACP Camillus Emeodi, advocated the synergy when the executive council of the NBA, Oleh branch, and members of its Human Rights Committee paid a courtesy visit to the commander in Ozoro, headquarters of Isoko North local government area, Delta state.
Emeodi admitted the excesses of some bad eggs in the police while on field duties, saying that such erring officers were usually disciplined according to law.
He asserted that the police and the NBA were partners in ensuring that justice, equity and the dignity of the citizenry were protected irrespective of tribe, religion or status.
Responding to issues of brutality, abuses of human rights and unlawful detention of suspects by the police, the police boss stated that, though the police had enormous powers to arrest, conduct search, with or without warrants, and to detain suspects, he maintained that abuse of same was intolerable.
He challenged the NBA to report any incidents of excesses of its members and such officers, if found culpable, would be sanctioned immediately, even as he stressed that it was unlawful for police to demand road worthiness document from private vehicle owners.
While assuring the NBA of thorough investigation into alleged torture of an old woman accused of witchcraft at Otor-Iyede and bring the perpetrators to book, Emeodi described men of the force as endangered species due to unwarranted stigmatisation and negative perception by the public, including other professional bodies.
Earlier, the chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Oleh branch, Mr. Theophilus Aniko, said they were at the Ozoro area command to familiarise with the new commander and his men, and also bring to his attention some human rights issues.
He stressed that synergy with the police was imperative to guarantee safety of lives and properties of citizenry.
The chairman who was accompanied by the members of the Human Rights Committee of the branch raised issues of human right violations perpetrated by the police including mode of arrest, overlong detention of suspects, procedure of taking suspects’ statements which, according to him, were in gross violation to the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Police Act 2020 and other extant laws.
Aniko informed the police boss that the jurisdiction of Oleh branch of the NBA covers Isoko South and North, Ndokwa West and East, and part of Ukwani local government areas, recommended a forum where the police and NBA would interact to appreciate areas of collaboration for better society.
The chairman was accompanied by the vice chairman who is also the chairman of the Human Rights Committee, Dr Henry Awodezi, the secretary of the NBA, Oleh branch, Mr. Agbaragu Timothy, Chief S. O. Oboro and Mrs. A. O. Osha.