A lot of Nigerians know that one of the shortfalls of officers of the Nigerian Police Force is the violation of human rights and in order to curb this menace and inculcate more sanity into the force in the areas of human rights and safety awareness, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) held a sensitization program on Wednesday, 8th of December, 2021 at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) Panti, Lagos.

The program commenced with an opening prayer and remark from the DC Panti, the representative of the United Nations Information Center UNIC Lagos Nigeria in person of Mrs. Bolanle Olumeko (Assistant Information Manager) who gave a good will message from the Director of UNIC Mr. Roland Kayanja. She thanked the DC for bringing police officers from different area commands and divisions in Lagos State together for the critical sensitization event.

Equally, representative of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Mrs. Nneka Anigbo also gave a goodwill remark on the program and spoke extensively on the importance of such a gathering, saying that it will go a long way in changing the perspective of the police by the Nigerian public. Barr. Ene Sarah Unobe (Executive Director of International Center for Human Rights Non-Violence and Safety Awareness who anchored the program also enlightened officers of the NPF that no one is limited when we talk about Human Rights. She expressed her feelings about the right to personal liberty which was inscribed in the1999 constitution viz-a-viz the Ethical and Local Conduct for Law Enforcement etc.

Guest Speaker of the day, Mr. Vincent Anigbo made the seminar so interactive. He talked about Human Rights standard and practice for the Police. He emphasized about policing in Democracies, he said it’s the rights of the police to provide protection for the public and that Police should be an independent arm of the executive and shall be subject to the direction of the court and bound by their orders. He also said the police should maintain political independence and impartiality at all times. In other words, Mr. Anigbo said that men of the NPF should carry out all duties impartially and without discrimination on such ground as race, colour, sex, language, religion or politics. He then concluded that the police should speak out against ethnic or racial slurs in the community and in the police station.

Barr Ene also added her contribution by saying that it is good to always organize an in-service training to sanitize officers of the Nigerian Police Force to the importance of good ethnic/race relations and fair non-discriminatory law enforcement, develop a race-relations plan of action in consultation with various ethnic communities. She also reminded the police about the law that said everyone is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a fair trial, victims and witnesses are to be treated with compassion and consideration, confidentiality and care in the handling of sensitive information are to be exercised at all times. At the seminar, questions were asked by the police officers most of whom also poured out their minds that if they are keeping and following the universal declarations and SDGs who will fight for their own human rights because they are also humans and the civilians violated their rights during the October 20th, 2020 ENDSARS protests and that many of the officers were killed.

Conclusively, the seminar proved to be a worthy gathering of men of the NPF for adequate sensitization on human rights violation and the peaceful way forward for both police officers and the general Nigerian public.

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