RULAAC donates law books at graduation to Police Human Rights Officers in Lagos

Nwanguma says a human rights-based approach to policing for communities starts with police knowledge and awareness

By Ishaya Ibrahim, news editor

The Rule of Law, Accountability and Advocacy Center (RULAAC) has donated concise summaries of the Police Act 2020 and Police Trust Fund Act 2019 to Lagos State Police Command .

RULAAC Executive Director Okechukwu Nwanguma presented the books to Lagos State Police Commissioner Abiodun Alabi during the 41 Police Human Rights Officers Graduation Ceremony.

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Police human rights officers have been trained in various aspects of human rights and how they can carry out their work without violating the rights of others.

Nearly a hundred police officers from various divisions of the State Command enrolled in the program which lasted three months.

The training was initiated by the Crime Victims Foundation (CRIVIFON).

Lagos State Police Commissioner Abiodun Alabi said he was excited about the initiative, adding that knowledge is power. “If you don’t have the knowledge, you can’t do it right. I want to see our officers who have been trained showcasing their knowledge and applying it.

The executive director of the Crimes Victims Foundation, Gloria Egbuji, praised the Lagos Police Commissioner for putting a human face on the police. “He was like that. I am very happy that he gave us his support.

The diplomas

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She added: “If you are a civilian here and you pay bail, you are on your own. The Lagos CP applies this. All you have to do is provide the police with acceptable bail.

She said 100 officers were enrolled in the training, but only 91 passed and graduated.

She said the successful graduates have all been trained and passed the exams which involve mastering all of chapter four of the 1999 constitution.

Nwanguma commended the Lagos State Police Command for adopting human rights training for its personnel. He said it is a clear testimony to the command’s recognition of the importance of human rights.

The Director General of RULAAC emphasized the place of knowledge in the exercise of police functions. He says human rights education should not only be provided in every police training college in the country, but as a prerequisite for promotion to any higher rank at every stage.

He said: “In the Introduction to the Commonwealth Handbook on Human Rights Training for the Police, it was emphasized that “a human rights-based approach to community policing begins with knowledge and awareness on the part of police officers of the limits of the lawful authority and conduct of the police. Many of these limits are based on fundamental rights. This knowledge and awareness requires that special attention be given to human rights elements of policing in initial, in-service and refresher police training.

“By definition, law enforcement requires that some coercive or coercive capacity exists to ensure compliance with the law. The police are authorized to use force in certain circumstances, such as during certain arrests or in cases of self-defence. From a human rights perspective, when the police have the power to use force, including firearms, the most important principle is that of proportionality using a minimum of force. This means that if no force is needed, for example, to arrest a person, an officer should use no force at all; if force is used, it should be only to the extent strictly necessary to effect the arrest of that person.

“The new Police Act 2020 also emphasizes this principle. The Police Act also provided safeguards to regulate the exercise of police powers. He went on to say that no junior police officer will be punished for refusing to obey illegal orders from his superiors.

“The preamble of Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the logical link between failure to respect human rights and the likelihood of a breach of the peace. Seen in this light, the daily conduct of the police in protecting and ensuring the human rights of all people contributes to safe, stable and peaceful communities. And the violation of rights only undermines, rather than enables, the possibility of real security and stability.

The event was attended by a lawmaker representing the federal constituency of Ibeju/Lekki, Prince Bayo Balogun, a human rights lawyer, Olasupo Ojo, and other dignitaries.

Nancy I. Romero