Determined to strengthen police reform in the country, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is scheduled to visit police stations across the country to monitor their compliance with human rights standards.
Ahead of the flag off of the visit tagged, “Police Stations Visitors Week (PSVW)”, some members of staff of the Commission who will participate in the exercise were trained on the modalities of the visit at the Commission’s Headquarters, Abuja.
Speaking in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the training programme, preparatory to the visit, the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu (SAN) said that the project is part of a larger project on strengthening police reform in Nigeria.
The Chief Human Rights Officer in Nigeria stated that the project was funded by MacArthur Foundation and implemented by the NHRC in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President, CLEEN Foundation, Network for Police Reforms (NOPRIN), and the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC).
Ojukwu said the PSVW was in furtherance of the Commission’s mandate to carry out periodic audit of places of detention faccilities across the country to ensure that activities in those places are in conformity with human rights standards.
“It is also aimed at enhancing police accountability, identifying good practices and documenting challenges that may exist, with a view to making recommendations to appropriate authorities for improvement in respect for human rights.” Ojukwu stated.
The NHRC Boss disclosed that police stations to be visited are selected based on geographical spread and will cover one state per geo-political zone and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The states include: Sokoto (North West), Bauchi (North East), Benue (North Central), Oyo (South West), Imo (South East), Edo (South South) and FCT.
The Executive Secretary said that in each of the states, six police stations would be identified and visited in collaboration with the NHRC State Offices and other stakeholders in the state.
“The visits to the police stations have been scheduled to hold between 21 and 25 February, 2022”, he added.
“May I place on record the readiness of the Police Authority to cooperate with the Commission during these exercises, in recognition of the fact that we are all duty bearers in ensuring a culture for human rights in Nigeria.”
“These audit exercises are not meant to witch-hunt any one but aimed at ensuring that human rights are promoted and protected, including the rights of persons in detention.” Ojukwu stated.
The Project Coordinator and Director of Human Rights Institute (HRI), Ifeoma Wakama had called on the participants to be attentive during the training and subsequently take the task ahead of them seriously.
She urged them to bear it in mind that they are agents of change and their contributions would go a long way at moulding the police of our dream.
The acting Executive Director of CLEEN foundation, Mrs. Ruth Olofin expressed optimism that the country with such exercise, the country will have an improved policing system with international best practices.