Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has stated that Nigerians were gradually losing confidence in the nation’s police force, thus the need for urgent reforms.
In his remarks to declare a public hearing organised by the Committee on Police Affairs open on Tuesday, the speaker also retreated that the House would not accept cases of extra-judicial killing, harassment, intimidation and other forms of violence usually unleashed on innocent citizens by some men of the Nigeria police.
The speaker described as unfortunate a situation where some men of the Nigeria police, saddled with the constitutional responsibility of protecting the lives and property of the people, turn out to be against the citizens.
”More than any other institution of the state, it is the police force that relates to the citizens daily. In many communities across Nigeria, the police force is the only representative of the Nigerian state, and the connection between our citizens and the state is often defined by their interactions with the Nigeria police.
“It is unfortunate and entirely unacceptable that the relationship between the police and many of these communities is now defined by fear, mutual antagonism and an absolute loss of faith in the ability of the police to protect and to serve.
“In the last few days, we have all witnessed as the city of Sagamu in Ogun state has been unsettled by an orgy of violence resulting from the extra-judicial killing of a young footballer by officers of the Nigerian police.
“Citizens, who gathered to protest this killing were soon themselves at the receiving end of police bullets. This is not an isolated incident. We are daily inundated with news reports of interactions between citizens and the police resulting in the injury and death of those citizens.
“Reports of police harassment of young people have become so rampant that they barely even break through the news cycle except when public anger becomes so great that it results in a breakdown of law and order. We can no longer stand for this, and we will not. This House of Representatives has a responsibility to speak for our citizens and we will continue to do so even when it is inconvenient,” Gbajabiamila said.
Earlier welcoming participants to the hearing, chairman of the committee, Usman Kumo at the event tagged; “Repositioning the Nigeria Police for Enhanced Service Delivery,” was meant to cross-fertilise ideas on the way forward for the police.