A DEMAND FOR ETHICS IN THE NIGERIAN POLICE FORCE

In light of the recent happenings of police brutality around the world particularly in Nigeria, it has become apparent that there is an urgent need to address the root cause of such issues and create possible solutions for the betterment of Society. The lack of core ethical values is prevalent in the Nigerian Police Force and ethics reform is necessary. What is SARS and why is there a call to #EndSARS ?. The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is a Nigerian Police Force Unit under the Force criminal Investigation and intelligence and Department headed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police Anthony Ogbizi. SARS is one of the 14 units in the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department which was established to detain, investigate and prosecute people involved in crimes i.e. armed robbery, kidnapping and other forms of crimes.

However, SARS officials have abandoned the mandate given to them as it is widely observed of the huge complaints Nigerian Citizens have towards them; they profile and harass innocent youths, unlawfully detain and torture them, rape women, extort money (would go as far to escort you to ATM), steal phones and cars of innocent citizens and even worse, kill them. This has led Nigerians nationwide and worldwide to demand the disbandment of SARS. So what do we expect from the Nigerian Police Force? A police officer has an ethical responsibility to make non-biased, non-discriminatory, law-abiding and justifiable judgement calls to protect citizens. The Code of Conduct expected of the Nigerian Police Force are:

  • Primary Responsibilities of a Police Officer – A police officer acts as an official representative of government who is required and trusted to work within the law. The fundamentals duties of a police officer include serving the community, safeguarding lives and property, protecting the innocent, keeping the peace and ensuring the rights of all to liberty, equality and justice.
  • Performance of duties as a police Officer – A police officer is expected to perform all duties impartially; without favour of affection or ill will. This should be without regard to status, sex, race, religion, political belief or aspiration
  • Discretion – A police officer must use responsibly, the discretion vested in his position and exercise it within the law.
  • Use of Force – A police officer must never employ any unnecessary force or violence
  • Confidentiality – Whatever a police officer sees, hears or learns should be in confidentiality
  •  Integrity – A police officer should not engage in acts of corruption or bribery.

People carry placards in continuation of ongoing demonstrations to call for the scrapping of the controversial police unit at Ikeja, on October 9, 2020. – Nigeria’s top police chief banned a controversial anti-robbery unit and other special agents from mounting roadblocks and carrying out stop-and-search operations over accusations of abuses. Inspector-General of Police Muhammed Adamu said the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other tactical squads must stop such operations “with immediate effect”. Adamu said the decision followed findings that “a few personnel” in undercover tactical squads have abused their position “to perpetrate all forms of illegality”. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Considering and comparing the expectations and reality of the Nigerian Police Force structure, it is important to revise where it went all wrong. As an organization we understand the importance and influence of ethical values hence we believe as part of the reform of the Nigeria police, all officers must be thoroughly trained and educated on the code of conduct expected of the Nigeria Police force and attach heavy consequences in failure to comply with the values. This is a huge call to Ethics, #ENDSARS is not just about protests and it is a movement to demand action from the government to find solutions to the ramifications and ills that plague our society. We pledge that as an organization we would not stop speaking out for those who cannot speak for themselves!