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Open Letter To President Buhari, Police IG On Excessive Use Of Force By Police Officers, By Adekunle Adeyemi Taofeek (Scotty Aluta)

This is an open letter to the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (General Muhammadu Buhari) and the Inspector General of Police (Usman Alkali Baba) on the excessive use of force and violations of human right by the Nigerian police and also to implement the use of Body Worn Camera amidst its officers.

The unwarranted or excessive and often illegal use of force against civilians by Nigerian police officers and all forms of police brutality have ranged from assault and battery (e.g., beatings) to mayhem, torture, and murder. This also encompass harassment (including false arrest), intimidation, and verbal abuse, among other forms of mistreatment.


People are dying at the hands of police officers. Torture routinely now takes the place of proper investigation. Police in many cases lack the training and resources to do their job properly. There is no forensic capacity, not even one lab in Nigeria has working equipment to analyze fingerprints, so it is very difficult to do a proper investigation. This is not an excuse for torture, there is no excuse for that but some of the police do seem to feel the pressure and will torture to extract a confession so that they can close a case. Sometimes, a person will go to the station to report a crime, and instead the police will suddenly turn them into a suspect.


General Muhammadu Buhari and the rest of the government need to take reform seriously if they are going to improve safety and restore confidence in the police. It is also essential to ensure that the police do not monopolize or interfere with investigations of crime and misconduct by their officers. Currently, many cases of police misconduct are overlooked because of political interference, or the expectation of it. There should be an establishment of a federal prosecutorial unit to take on cases of police corruption and violence. We need to ensure that complaints are followed up and abuse is punished in order to change this culture of impunity.


Nigerians are afraid to engage police officers for the fear of being killed extra-judicially. I urge the federal government of Nigeria to find a lasting solution to this criminal act of his officers and I will call for the introduction of body worn camera which should be mandatory for all serving officers. Police body cameras (also called body-worn cameras) are small cameras worn on a law enforcement officer’s chest or head to record interactions between the officer and the public. The cameras have a microphone to capture sound and internal data storage to save video footage for later review.


The video and audio recordings from BWCs [body-worn cameras] can be used by law enforcement to demonstrate transparency to their communities; to document statements, observations, behaviors, and other evidence; and to deter unprofessional, illegal, and inappropriate behaviors by both law enforcement and the public. Police body cameras are in use around the world from Australia and Uruguay to the United Kingdom and South Africa. Nigeria should follow suit as i believe funding wouldn't be a problem. Our senators and members of the house of representatives salaries for a month not to talk of their allowances should cover the cost of thousands of body worn cameras, but instead we chose to chase shadows. If body worn camera was in existence, there wouldn't be an outrage of the #EndSars movement, all officers would be of good conduct knowing all their conduct is on record. 


Lastly, all officers on plain-clothed and those without an official identity card should be sanctioned. I am a victim of circumstance and at the same time, I am speaking on behalf of millions of Nigerians who are also victims of police brutality.


Adekunle Adeyemi Taofeek ( Scotty Aluta)