Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Rights commission begins police stations audit

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The Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, Tony Ojukwu, says that audit of some police stations across the country was not to witch hunt anyone or institution.

Mr Ojukwu, a Senior Advocate, said this on Wednesday in Abuja at the training of participants on the use of the checklist in the Police Station, Visitors Week, PSVW.

He said the PSVW was in furtherance of the commission’s mandate to carry out periodic audit of places of detention across the country to ensure conformity with human rights standards.

Mr Ojukwu added that the exercise was aimed at enhancing police accountability, identifying good practices and documenting challenges that may exit.

”I wish to stress that the audit are not to witch-hunt anyone or any institution but aimed at ensuring that human rights are promoted and protected, including the rights of persons in detention.

“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 of respect for human rights in Nigeria.

“I want to urge all persons participating in the audit to ensure that they engage actively with this process and discuss all possible issues and challenges so that the field work would be smooth and hitch free,” he said.

The police visitors’ week commences on Feb. 21.

Mr Ojukwu stated that the project was part of a larger project on strengthening police reforms in Nigeria funded by MacArthur Foundation and implemented by NHRC.

He added that it was also 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.

“The police stations are selected based on geographical spread and will cover one state per geo-political zone, and Abuja.

“The selected states are as follows, Sokoto (NW), Bauchi (NE), Benue (NC),Oyo (SW), Imo (SE), Edo (SS) and FCT.

“In each of these States, six police stations will be identified and visited in collaboration with the NHRC state offices and other stakeholders at state level,” he said.

He, therefore, urged participants not to waste the resources put together for the exercise but be conversant with the checklist, which would be used for data collection.

Mr Ojukwu added that participants should step down knowledge acquired from the training to their colleagues in the state.

Speaking also, Ruth Olofin, acting director, CLEEN FOUNDATION, said that there was a need to go back to best practices.

She added that community could take part in policing of their communities, hence the police visitors week.

The director, human rights institute, HRI, Ifeoma Nwakama in her speech, urged participants to strive to know what was contained in the tools they are going to use.


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