Today’s presenter Okechukwu Nwanguma, project head for campaign operations and periodic reports at the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) in
Nwanguma began with a detailed and heart wrenching account of police brutality, from colonization (1966) to today. Regional and national police forces replaced the earlier community-rooted enforcers who maintained law and order without the use of excessive physical force. Their replacements were militarized and adopted the mantra of violence, corruption and partisanship they had so strongly abhorred. The Nigerian Police Mobile Force quickly assumed the fitting moniker ‘Kill and Go’.
Initial police reforms began in 1999, and in 2000 the Ministry of Public Affairs designed a reform plan detailing benchmarks to be achieved over the following five years. These efforts aimed to increase the confidence of Nigerians in the police as well as the morale of officers by:
- Improving resources for officers and stations
- Recruiting 200,000 new officers over five years
- Providing better screening and training for its leadership
While such aspirations are novel, the institution still lies beneath a dark cloud of corruption. The Human Rights Watch estimates over 10,000 civilian deaths in police hands after 1999, when reforms were to have been already in motion. Deficiencies within the justice system remain abominable, as there is still only one police lab and one ballistics specialist in a country slightly smaller than
Both Nwanguma and today’s commenter Oge Okoye, Assistant Program Director for the
Learn More About HRW findings
Sponsor: The National Endowment for Democracy
Date: June 18, 2008
Time: 12-2 p.m.
Representative Attending: Elizabeth Caniano