By CAMERON DUODU
THE Nigerian Federal Government is reported to have revealed that “over 600 persons, including police officers”, were indicted by the probe panel set up to investigate the bloody “Boko Haram” crisis in July 2009.
THE Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, told journalists in Abuja, that all those found culpable in the two incidents would face the music.
Kayode, who spoke with newsmen after a closed-door meeting with members of the National Committee on Torture, said that he would be holding a meeting with the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo, next week, on the legion of alleged extra-judicial and other unlawful killings by some police officers.
He also instructed the committee to put administrative measures in place to investigate the Aljazeera documentary on extra judicial killings by the Nigeria Police as well as the report of Local and International Human Rights Organisations.
The Minister added that the officers who appeared in the television footage would be identified and brought to face the wrath of the law, adding that the committee on torture, as an independent body, would be given a free hand to investigate such incidents in detention centres all over the country.
If the Minister is to be taken at his word, then the Government is showing a marked difference in its attitude to reports of police brutality in Nigeria. For years, the “Mobile Police” in particular have earned for themselves, a reputation as a brutal organisation whose members just “Kill and Go”. Of course, Nigerian criminals are also extremely brutal and the deaths of many policemen, as well as civilians, can be laid at their door. But a law force that is feared by the population it is supposed to serve has already lost half the battle of preserving law and order. For the sine qua non without which the police can never achieve their objectives is information, and no member of the public is going to volunteer to contact an organisation he fears in order to provide it with information.