Popular entertainer, Femi Kuti, has called for comprehensive reform of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) which he said requires a complete reorientation.
Kuti said he believes the Police Force is important to curbing crime but must work for law-abiding Nigerians, not against them.
He said this yesterday while addressing the media at the New Afrika Shrine, Lagos where a protest against Police brutality took place.
The protest was in reaction to the fatal shooting of Kolade Johnson, a 36-year-old who was killed on Sunday, March 31, 2019 by operatives of the Special Anti-Cultism Squad (SACS) in Lagos State in the Mangoro area of Lagos.
According to Kuti, the protest was not an attempt to undermine or scrap the Police Force but to demand a reform of the system that’ll make it work in the interest of the people and not kill them unlawfully.
Describing Kolade’s fatal shooting as one of the too many tragic excesses of the Force that should not be condoned, Kuti said a change was important.
“We’re not against the Police. We’re saying the complete orientation of the Police must change into positiveness.
“The Police works for us and must defend its citizens. The Police cannot go and kill its citizens. We pay our taxes so the Police must defend us.
“We’re not saying scrap the Police Force, of course, there’ll be crime. If Police is properly equipped then Police can protect us against crime,” he said.
Speaking also, Segun ‘Segalink’ Awosanya, an activist and major campaigner against Police brutality, called for the scrapping of all ‘killer’ Police squads in the country.
While addressing the group of protesters yesterday, Awosanya said killer squads in the Nigeria Police Force have been working against the interest of the Nigerian people for too long and must be stopped.
The activist focused his demand against the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), the Special Anti-Kidnapping Squad (SAKS) and SACS, units that he said enjoy a free reign of impunity because they operate without a visible command and control structure.
“When our country is saddled with a Police Force that operates outside the bounds of law, without operational restraint, what we get are not only killer squads that reign supreme but a Police Force that has gone rogue killing and maiming defenceless citizens.
“The lives of all citizens matter and we must continue to demand that men and women of the Police Force respect the sanctity of life and the lives of all Nigerians.
“In light of the foregoing, therefore, we restate that all ad hoc squads within the Police Force be scrapped and their responsibilities transferred to the discernible structures within the Police Force,” he said.
Awosanya added that the operational responsibilities of the accused units can be properly handled by the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID) and its substructure, the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID).
Other demands made by the activist include the implementation of new and updated operational guidelines and use of arms which respect Nigerians’ rights to life; the payment of monetary compensation to all families of citizens killed by rogue operatives; and the criminal prosecution of police officers named in the killings of Nigerians.
He also called on the National Assembly to pass the Police Reform Bill, set to be laid before the Senate on Tuesday, April 9, and pass it to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.
He further called on the president to sign the bill without delay so that Nigerians don’t continue to endure an unjust system.
Meanwhile, the Lagos convener of Concerned Nigerians, Adelaja Adeoye, said Nigerians must not relent in reporting Police brutality so that oppressors can be kept on their toes.