A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Dele Adesina, has advised men of the Nigeria Police Force against taking sides with politicians and political parties during elections, warning that such behaviour will erode public confidence in the police and undermine the integrity of the institution and its officers.
Adesina described as regrettable some of the news reports about the conduct of policemen in the recent Osun State governorship poll as well as their involvement in other political activities as the nation warms up for the 2019 general elections.
He warned that disregard for the rule of law by individuals and institutions would stifle the nation’s democracy.
The SAN said this in a paper titled, “The minimum standard for the conduct of police officers towards the 2019 general elections,” which he delivered last week at a one-day training organised for the senior cadre of the Nigeria Police Force, Lagos State Command by the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights.
Adesina berated Nigerian politicians for their desperate disposition towards elections, which, he said, had given rise to vote-buying, lawlessness, compromise and corrupt practices.
On the conduct of policemen, the SAN lamented that, “Our experience on the role of the police is gradually becoming what the conduct of police officers should not be.
“The experiences manifest partiality on the part of police officers, one-sidedness, intimidation of voters and outright bribery.”
Making reference to the Nigeria Police Code of Conduct of 2013, Adesina said policemen were expected to perform their duties “impartially, without favour or affection or ill will and without regard to status, sex, race, religion, political belief or aspiration.”
“The document stated further that all citizens shall be treated equally with courtesy, consideration and dignity.
“Very amazingly, the code obligated police officers never to allow personal feelings, animosities or friendships to influence their official conducts,” he added.
While lending his voice to the creation of state police, Adesina added that more funds should be voted for the Nigeria Police Force.
“The Nigeria Police Force is grossly under-staffed, underfunded and severely under-equipped,” he said.
Earlier, a lawyer, Mr Nurudeen Ogbara, took the policemen that participated in the training through the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2015 on the respect of human rights.
In his welcome address, the National President of CDHR, Mr Malachy Ugwummadu, said the training was the organisation’s contribution towards reducing the challenges of policing in Nigeria.