Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Action Centre (RULAAC) has commenced monitoring of the implementation of the recent directive by the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Abubakar to minimize arrest and detention over simple offences across Nigeria.
The activity which spans for 6 months, between May 30, 2020, and November 30, 2020, is supported by the Open Society Justice Initiative, also assesses compliance with the recent Operational Guidelines for the Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies on COVID-19 prevention enforcement duties launched by the IGP.
It will be recalled that Guidelines are part of measures to foster a more harmonious relationship between the Police and members of the public, deepen respect for the rights of citizens, provide a new set of policing tools for tackling emerging crimes such as domestic violence, rape, child molestation and other incidents of gender-based violence (GBV).
To undertake the task, RULAAC has identified, trained and deployed two monitors in each of the implementing states namely Anambra, Lagos, Ogun, Abia, Kaduna and the Federal Capital Territory.
The state monitors are to identify and report deviation from the directives and guidelines, abusive conducts and human rights violations as well as how well the police are equipped and protected to effectively carry out their duties and how far they comply with NCDC protocols.
Executive Director of the RULAAC, Okey Nwanguma explained that the main objective of the intervention is to generate data with which to engage the police and law enforcement authorities on reforms focusing on the pretrial phase.
According to him, the monitoring will assess the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on criminal justice work in Nigeria.
“This project builds on the synergy developed under the Justice Initiative/RULAAC supported Police Stakeholders Partnership Forum (PSPF) in Anambra State and hopes to extend the platform to five other states as a mechanism for holding NPF personnel to account for rights violations, while growing skills and awareness to ensure prevention and diminution of such violations.
“The monitoring exercise will seek to gauge the level of compliance by monitoring the inflow of arrested persons into police detention facilities, the offences for which the arrests are made and the treatment meted to arrested persons while in detention.
“It will also reflect on the availability of COVID-19 prevention equipment and tools for police personnel to do their jobs properly,” Nwanguma revealed.
The RULAAC Boss said the agency will issue weekly updates of monitoring efforts, Bi-monthly update of the specific outcome of engagement with stakeholders on the findings of weekly reports and report of cases and complaints resolved by or through the platforms in the project states.
“RULAAC will prepare and publish the final report on November 30, 2020,” he said.
Nwanguma called on all victims or witnesses of abuse or misconduct by the police or any other law enforcement agents involved in the enforcement of COVID-19 lockdown or curfew in any of the states covered under the project to send their reports/complaints, including photos and videos to their state monitors.
He revealed the WhatsApp numbers for the monitors as follows-
1. 0803 397 9627
2. 0809 800 7554
1.0803 210 2294
2. 0806 613 0373
1. 0706 188 5552
2. 0703 469 0475
1. 0802 368 4524
2. 0906 535 6991
1. 0805 052 7206
2. 0802 421 9850
1. 0810 309 0245
Or directly to RULAAC at 08064974531