Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has blamed society for the problems of the police.
Speaking at a meeting with non-governmental organisations, including the National Human Rights Commission and the Nigerian Bar Association, at the Force Headquarters, Abuja on Thursday, Abubakar lamented the obstacles to proper policing of the country.
He said, “The degrading conditions of police cells is the way the government has designed it because police don’t get grants to put mattress there or even light.”
Abubakar challenged the NGOs to go to divisional police stations, promising to work with them to make the force more effective and people-friendly.
The IG expressed misgiving over negative media reports against the police by some of the NGOs, citing a statement by the CLEEN Foundation, which claimed that incidences of armed robbery had risen in the country by six per cent.
He disagreed with the report, arguing that such an issue should have been discussed with him by the foundation before making it public.
Abubakar said, “I think you people (NGOs) should be fighting alongside the police, but the reverse is the case. You know the conditions of service under which the police work. I read in the newspapers a statement by CLEEN Foundation that armed robbery hasd increased by six per cent in the country, but I don’t believe it.
“Even if it is true, as the IG, don’t I have the right to be given such data before it is published in the media?”
He said the police had about 800 lawyers some of whom had been deployed in state commands to facilitate criminal prosecution.
He urged the Legal Aid Council to step up its awareness and enlightenment campaigns, stressing that detainees needed to know that they have the right to see a lawyer and have access to their family members.
Representatives of the NGOs, who spoke at the meeting, called for structures for investigating cases of abuse of police powers, capacity building for the police in prosecution of criminal cases, advocacy for improvement in conditions of service of police officers and information sharing on state of policing, including deaths of police officers on duty.
Vice-Chairman, Federal Government panel on Implementation of Justice Sector Reforms, Mr. Olawale Fapohunda, said the meeting was meant to engage the police to ensure improvement in their service delivery.