Mr. Femi Falana, SAN

#EndSARS: How Nigeria Police trains officers to disregard human rights: Falana

*Says it is an archaic, completely colonial process that leaves officers of the Police Force with ‘no idea of human rights, human relations’

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

In his cutting remarks about Nigerians’ recent experience at the hands of the officers and men of the Nigeria Police as regards respecting people’s fundamental rights and human relations, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, a human rights lawyer, has done a review of the Force.

Falana has advanced the reason behind the commonplace rights violations, extortion, Police brutality and intimidation that have sparked continued protests across the country.

He, during his appearance on Channels TV, via a Skype call, traced the problem to how policemen and women are trained for their roles at Police colleges in the country.

Falana declared that it is a process he believes is archaic, and leaves officers of the Force with “no idea of human rights, human relations”.

He said: “We are really not addressing the problems. The training of the Police is colonial, completely primitive.

“A man joining the Police Force goes to the Police College. A woman goes to the police college dehumanised.

“She cannot make her hair; she has to cut her hair. A man has to shave his hair to the skull. The feeding is bad.”

Falana’s comments come amid widespread protests against police brutality, especially the activities of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad that became notorious for extortion, assault and killings.

The human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has repeatedly condemned rights violations by the Police.

However, he related that he was not surprised by the terror unleashed on citizens by members of the banned SARS Unit, and many of their colleagues in the Force over the decades.

According to him, Police training prepare the officers to disregard rights.

“They are trained like colonial policemen to brutalise the society and that is what is going on.

And it is not just starting.

“So, those who are in mobile unit – we used to call them ‘Kill and Go’ in the Second Republic under IGP (Sunday) Adewusi (in office from 1981-1983), that has transformed into SARS.”

As far as Falana is concerned, brutality is implanted in their psyche at the police college.

He further remarked: “What is the training in the college? They (trainees) are teargassed in rooms without windows. And for them (the authorities) that is the way to train them.

“They are beaten, tortured, and the feeding is bad.

“So, when the man or the woman comes out of the college, he wants to brutalise the society that dehumanised him in the college.”

Then, there is the issue of poor salaries and welfare with barracks and stations denied adequate funding, he noted.

He added:  “Police stations are not funded. So, daily, to run the station, the DPOs depend on extortion of money from the public, from suspects.

“Some stations are not built by the government but by members of the community.”

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