The Commissioner of Police, Mr Abiodun Alabi, has assured residents of Lagos State of improved service delivery and respect for human rights in line with international best practices.
This is contained in a statement issued by the state’s Police Command Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, on Friday in Lagos.
Alabi said that his optimism stemmed from the fact that Divisional Police Officers and Area Commanders in the state just completed intensive training on the effective implementation of the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice (Amendment) Law 2021.
He said that the training, which was organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Justice in partnership with the European Council, British Council, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC), had effectively equipped them for the challenges of 21st century policing.
“The training is designed to improve on human rights and rule of law, especially as it relates to officers and men of the Nigeria Police in Lagos State,” he said.
The Nigerian Police has been embroiled over the years in controversies bordering on human rights abuses with some cases even as extreme as extra-judicial killings.
Its biggest controversy was the hoopla over the activities of a special police squad, the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which was accused of extreme human rights abuses including extrajudicial killings of suspects, extortion, maltreatment and inhumane treatment of citizens or perceived fraudsters, harassment of female suspects, and torture and brutalisation of suspects.
These accusations led to a nationwide youth uprising popularly called #EndSARS protests.
SARS was immediately disbanded and another special squad, the Special Weapons and Tactics Squad (SWAT) was formed.
The measure did little to assuage the emotions of the protesters who kept up their agitations for well over two weeks.
Unfortunately, the protests ended in bedlam and bloodshed, forcing the Lagos State Government to set up a judicial panel to investigate the SARS allegations and subsequent disturbances at the Lekki Toll Gate, the epicentre of the #EndSARS protests.
The judicial panel found that army and police officers shot, injured, and killed unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria during nationwide protests against police brutality in 2020
Some of these findings were repudiated by the Lagos State government.