The Nigerian Police tend not to bring suspects of crimes before a judge within the constitutional 24 or 48 hours, but detain them for longer periods of time in police custody. The worst aspect of the matter is that conditions in Police cells are worse than those in the prisons.
The police is your friend,” is a common aphorism amongst men of the Nigeria Police Force but unfortunately this is not totally true considering the antecedents of policemen.
Unlawful arrests of innocent citizens are carried out and the police continue to execute suspects extra-judicially and torture is widespread in police custody.
Detention in police lockups is intended to be for a short time, at about 24 hours before one is charged to court.
Constitutionally, it is only the courts that have the final say as to whether a person is to be remanded in prison or finally executed depending on the magnitude of offence committed.
The Nigerian police tend not to bring suspects of crimes before a judge within the constitutional 24 or 48 hours, but detain them for longer periods of time in police custody. The worst aspect of the matter is that conditions in Police cells are worse than those in the prisons.
A victim whose case is still being heard in the courts and preferring anonymity told The Tide on Sunday, “I was supposed to stay here three days, but I was held up to four months. I was not given access to talk to my lawyer. There was a lot of intimidation.”
He further asserted, “the state CID (Criminal Investigation Department) wanted to kill me, they beat me, they killed people beside me and shot some. So, I confessed.”
It is no longer strange that the Nigerian Police execute detainees. Moreover, the police execute people for refusal to pay bribes or during road checks, saying they are criminal suspects. One of such took place in Port Harcourt in March this year along Ada-George Road, when a bus driver who refused to give, ‘egunje’ to the policemen on the road was shot dead.
The report which was published by the Punch Newspapers has it that trouble broke out when the unsuspecting bus driver failed to give the illegal N50 road check fees. The policeman was said to have been incensed by the effrontery and shot him point blank.
Other cases include the shooting during arrest of suspected armed robbers. On September 4, 2007, the former Inspector-general of Police, Sir Mike Okiro made public in his address, “100 Days of Pragmatic Policing in Nigeria,” that between June and August 2007 some 785 suspected armed robbers were killed in shoot-outs with police.
The Networks on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) observed that, “whatever the explanation, extra-judicial executions appear to have become an acceptable tool of policing”.
The non-governmental organisation argued that it was hard to quantify the number of people killed by the police as “the police do not keep adequate records of encounter and other killings committed by its personnel or that figures of police killings are deliberately manipulated to produce, artificial low statistics.
In the same vein, another non-governmental organisation, LEAP has documented cases of extra-judicial executions and impunity for several years. Its 2004 report showed an impunity rate of 100 percent: none of the almost 350 reported incidents in 2004, which resulted in almost 3,000 deaths, was investigated.
In 2005, former President Olusegun Obasanjo acknowledged that the extra-judicial execution and killings of suspects and innocent citizens by the police was widespread. In October, newspapers reported that the Commissioner of Police in the Federal capital Territory ordered his policemen to shoot at sight suspected robbers caught in the act.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, in a report following his visit to Nigeria in 2005, also documented the practice of extra-judicial executions.
Part of the report reads thus, “There is no reason to doubt that the 2,402 armed robbers killed since 2000 were in reality all armed robbers, much less that they were all killed in shot-outs. Armed robbery as such should be removed as a capital offence,” adding, “despite the fact that the scourge of armed robbery plagues much of Nigeria, the label of ‘armed robber is very often used to justify the jailing and or extra-judicial execution of innocent individuals.”
In March 2008, the Special Rapporteur observed that despite the alarm they raised earlier, nothing has changed, “unfortunately, it seems like business as usual with the Nigerian Police,” he said, “continuing to get away with murder and patterns of human rights violation that I witnessed in 2005 have continued today.”
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also frowned at the situation. In its report, titled, “State of Human rights in Nigeria 2005 – 2006 observed, “prolonged years of military rule in Nigeria entrenched a culture of disregard for human life, particularly on the part of security and law enforcement agencies. This attitude has largely remained unchanged, seven years after the advent of democracy. Cases of extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary executions have been persistently recorded across the country.”
The same view was shared by the NHRC zonal coordinator in Rivers State, Barrister Emily Herbert in an exclusive chat with the Sunday Tide. She disclosed that the commission had received several petitions from members of the public over missing relatives in police custody.
Barrister Herbert while frowning at the untoward attitude of the Police to suspects disclosed that reports of sudden disappearances of people in police detention underscore the fact that the police is condoning such inhuman activity by its men.
Because of the various petitions received so far, she stated that the commission had been compelled to write to the police authorities in Rivers State to address the matter.
Said Herbert, “the State Commissioner of Police has promised to treat about two of such cases in the room trial and those policemen involved would be stripped off their uniforms.”
Aside extra-judicial killings, the NHRC zonal co-ordinator also pointed the issue of the inability of some companies to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before carrying out operations in their host communities.
She pointed out that such attitude was capable of breeding hostilities and violence in such communities stressing that EIA is the right of the people.
Over the years, Amnesty International has documented many cases of human rights violations by the security forces in Nigeria. The military are frequently involved in extra-judicial executions and other human rights – violations, particularly in the Niger Delta.
The use of excessive force by the military when dealing with clashes is a frequent occurrence, often resulting in the death of bystanders, for example in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in August 2007; Odioma, Bayelsa State in February 2005; at the Ugborodo community members demonstration at the Escravos oil terminal, Delta State, in February 2005; Zaki Biam in Benue, in 2001 and Odi in Bayelsa, in 1999.
In all of these cases, no action was known to have been taken to bring the suspected perpetrators of these human rights violations to justice.
Similarly on the morning of August 17, 2009, the Joint Taskforce in Sama, Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, executed an unarmed man and dumped his body into the river.
Rattled by this development, the core militant group in the Niger Delta, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) warned that extra-judicial killings in the region could end the ceasefire it declared recently.
Spokesman of the group, Jomo Gbomo in an online statement disclosed that the youths of the area angered by JTF action moblised and carried out a reprisal attack on the army unit responsible for the extra-judicial killing and killed a solider and made away with his rifle. He noted that, “such irresponsible actions by the military even when it is targeted at civilians is not acceptable and can jeopardise the current ceasefire if repeated.”
Worried over the spate of extra-judicial killings, the National Assembly in 2005 started debating a bill for Act to establish the ‘Police Complaints Bureau with powers to investigate, inquire, recommend and prosecute cases of extra-judicial killings, human rights abuses, unlawful extortion by the police.
This bill was withdrawn by the end of 2005. In 2008, a bill with the same name was introduced.
Government has at various times blamed the situation on the security challenges in the country. For example, in September 2007, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ojo Maduekwe wrote to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture that, “while Government does not intend to justify torture and ill-treatment under any circumstances, it is hoped that the international community understands the enormous challenges faced by law-enforcement agencies in a developing nation as our own like .
He continued, “…the lack of an effective complaints mechanism, the unsatisfactory state of detention facilities; the under-resourced and over-stretched criminal justice system; Sharia Law and Corporal punishment.”
In a meeting with Amnesty International in July 2007, senior police officials at the federal headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force confirmed that they had received reports of torture and that they were addressing these “unconventional,” ways of interviewing.
In practice, any actions taken by the Nigeria Police Force had failed to end the use of torture in the interrogation of suspects.
But as the NHRC highlighted in its report on the state of human rights, accused the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police and other law enforcement agencies of coming act of torture with impunity. Unfortunately, confessions extracted by torture are used as evidence in court contrary to international standards.
Nevertheless, because of the bad image this has given to the country and the police, Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Chief Pius Osayande last week issued a strong warning to policemen.
Chief Osayande who gave the warning at Owerri said the commission would sanction any Divisional Police Officer who engages in extra-judicial killings. He urged them to desist or face expulsion from service.
The Bini Chief who was a former Deputy Inspector-General of Police stated that the commission was poised to transform the police by ensuring that all unlawful acts and corruption are curbed.
To achieve this, he revealed that the agency needs about N340 billion to upgrade the police and raise the welfare of policemen in the country.
NPA Pledges Safe Navigation Of Vessels On Warri Pilotage District
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has assured navigational safety for all stakeholders operating legally in the Warri Pilotage District, despite the urgent need for breakwater reconstruction.
This is just as NPA pilots enabled the safe berthing of inbound vessels – MT Zonda and MT Stellar as well as outbound vessel MT Duke, MT Vardar and MT Igbinosa last week with six vessels at anchorage outbound and inbound for Bonny Island, Koko and Escravos.
NPA stated that although the Escravos breakwaters constructed to prevent the siltation of the Warri channels had collapsed decades ago, it has concluded the survey and mapping of the channel.
The authority also noted that it is at the conclusive stages of securing relevant approvals for the best financing option to fund its reconstruction and has put measures in place to ensure safe berthing of legally operating vessels in the spirit of trade facilitation.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the up-to-date local and international training as well as simulation and maneuverability competence building of the highly experienced pilots of the NPA, have ensured zero incidences of vessels running aground.
Bello-Koko said the authority had procured and installed adequate buoys for the Warri channel and realigned the entrance buoys as well as docked and reclassified vessels.
He said the authority has also stipulated frequent simulation training and retraining for all the pilotage crew to enable them to respond to the exigencies of the channel.
According to him, the occasionally reported incidents of vessels running aground cannot impede the channel, as they are vessels operating illegally without NPA’s marine pilot onboard.
He said the vessels ran aground because they veered off the channel and safety-marked areas due to incompetence.
Bello-Koko said to enhance domain awareness capability to detect and frontally keep illegal vessels at bay, the authority recently awarded consultancy for the installation of Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) across all its port locations with the first phase already completed.
Most popular toys in 2018
Every year some toys emerge as popular among children across all ages. These toys are considered a “must have” by most kids and are often on their Christmas wish list. The year 2018 is no different with some toys making it to the favorite list of most children. Most times, the toys vary in terms of size, color and design giving kids a chance to choose the ones that appeal to them. Nevertheless, it is essential to start your shopping early to get the best deals without having to stretch the available funds.
What to look for when buying toys in 2018
Apart from having your kids’ preferences in mind when purchasing toys in 2018, you should also check if they are suitablefor children.Some of the things you should consider when buying toys are listed below.
- Age of child – Most toys have a label that indicates the age of the child that is allowed to play with them. Ensure that you read the label before buying a toy, so that gets all the benefits meant to be derived from using it. Age-appropriate toys contribute to the development of children, making it vital that they get the right type of plaything.
- Safety – Majority of the favorite toys can be a great addition to your child’s collection in 2018. However, it is essential to check the toys for corners, sharp edges, and harmfulpoints which might not have been mentioned on the warning label. Toys that are easy to dismantle and have loose parts should also be vetted to see whether they are appropriate for the child. Focus on buying toys that cannot lead to injuries and are durable for different kinds of play.
- Affordability-The price of toys vary from one store to another, with some being cheap and others quite expensive. When going shopping, have a budget that will guide the quality and quantity of toys that you can purchase for your children. You can consider buying one expensive toy that is their favorite and adding others that are low cost to achieve a balance.
- Versatility –Toys that can only be used for a short time or appeal to children of a specific age group may not be the best ones to buy for kids. Go for toys that can be used to entertain and educate the child over a long period without them getting bored.
- Durability –Most children, especially toddlers enjoy picking apart toys as a way for them to explore its workings. It is therefore vital to buy toys that made from sturdy material, and all their parts are screwed on tightly so that they are not easily spoilt. Also, ensure that paint used on the toys do not easily peel off and are non-toxic.
Top 6 favorite toys in 2018
The number of toys launched in 2018is many with several appealing to both boys and girls of different ages. Some of the toys that have been ranked as favorites this year include:
- LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall Building Kit
The game is designed to resemble Hogwarts Great Hall Building in the popular Harry Potter movie. It is 878 pieces which when arranged reveal the Great Hall which is a famous building in the film. Some of the pieces that stand out are the treasure room, spiral staircase, and potions room. Popular figurines are also part of the set with characters such as Nearly Headless, Nick, Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore, Ron Weasely, Hagris, Draco, Professor NacGonagall and Susan Bones among others.
- Barbie Care Clinic Vehicle
Barbie has been part of the favorite toy list for many years, and in 2018 she is in charge of a mobile clinic. She has a twenty piece set that includes a gift shop, exam room and waiting room which are used to tackle emergencies of varying magnitudes. The ambulance in the collection has lights as well as siren sounds that are turned on using a button which is quite exciting for kids who are three years and older.
- Paw Patrol – Ultimate Rescue Fire Truck
Kids that love the Paw Patrol cartoon will enjoy playing with the truck whose sounds, and flashing lights keep them entertained. The truck has a Marshall who sits in the cab looking out but can also jump into the fire cart when they need to rescue animals. The extendable ladder and working claw are fun to use to save animals stuck in trees.
- Smart Learning Home
Fisher price has always focused on making playtime fun for babies for many years. In 2018, they introduced a toy that helps small children learn about the weather, numbers, and shapes. The interactive toy also has sounds, music, and lights to keep your baby entertained. To find out more about interactive toys for babies, visit https://www.bestreviews.guide/topics/toys-kids-and-baby.
- Sesame Street Lets Dance Elmo
Elmo is loved by many children that have interacted with him and his friends on the Sesame Street show. In 2018, he is dancing and grooving to different types of music, making him an excellent toy for children working on their motor skills. The toy has musical modes namely songs, colors and animals which gives kids a variety to choose from. When the modes are changed, Elmo begins to wiggle, or dance and the color on his heart begins to turn as well.
- Radio Flyer busy buggy
Toddlers that are active and always on the move will enjoy having this ride-on toy. The carriage has several features that make its fun to ride over short distances. Some of the fancy features that make it one of the most interactive toys in 2018 include an adjustable dashboard, horn, moving windshield, and sliding beads among others. Active youngsters get to develop their motor skills as they cruise within the home while adjusting their reflective mirror.
Overall, no matter the choice of toys you buy for your children, ensure that they are educational, fun and safe.
CRFFN Registers 5000 Freight Forwarders
More than 5,000 freight forwarders have so far registered with the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (CRFFN) in its on-going membership drive.
The CRFFN Director (Education and Research), Mr Alban Igwe, told our correspondents on Thursday in Lagos that the initiative was part of efforts to re-organise the freight forwarding business in Nigeria.
He said that freight forwarders, who failed to register with the council, would at the end of the exercise be regarded as fake businessmen.
According to him, the council plans to enforce its operational code which allows only registered members to practise.
“The registration, which started last year, is on-going. The enforcement, which should have started already, will start shortly as soon as all logistics are on ground.
“We have a tribunal that will try all illegal freight forwarders and any forwarder found guilty will be sentenced.
“Education of freight forwarders continues because over 70 per cent involved in the business do not have more than school certificate,” he said.
Igwe said that the association had concluded plans to conduct intensive training across the country in line with the provision of the Act that established the council.
He said that education remained the key role of the CRFFN in assisting freight forwarders to acquire professional skills and knowledge.
Igwe said that the council had signed memoranda of understanding with 10 training institutions to facilitate achievement of this objective.
The CRFFN Director also said that the training programme had made it possible for interested freight forwarders to acquire PHD degrees, stressing that the era of quacks had gone.
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