Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Police Force Is Corrupt, EFCC Not Sincere - U.S.

The United States has indicted the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), saying that corruption in the institution remained very rampant.

A recent report on Human Rights Practices compiled by the United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, said that the Nigerian Police corruption remained rampant, particularly at highway checkpoints.

"Police routinely stopped drivers who did not commit traffic infractions, refusing to allow them to continue until they paid bribes. The Office of the Inspector General of Police attempted to strengthen the Police Monitoring Unit, which was charged with visiting police stations to search officers for signs of accepting bribes; however, the unit remained ineffective and made no arrests by year's end"

"Authorities generally did not hold police accountable for the use of excessive or deadly force or for the deaths of persons in custody. Police generally operated with impunity in the illegal apprehension, detention, and sometimes execution of criminal suspects. The reports of state or federal panels of inquiry investigating suspicious deaths remained unpublished.. Citizens could report incidents of police corruption to the NHRC; however, the NHRC did not act on such complaints during the year, and no other mechanism existed to investigate security force abuse"

The US report also said that the Nigerian Police mistreated civilians to extort money, stressing that the law prohibited the introduction into trials of evidence and confessions obtained through torture. "However, police often used torture to extract confessions"

"The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; however, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government and the security forces. The constitution provides immunity from civil and criminal prosecution to the president, vice president, governors, and deputy governors while in office" the US reports added.

The reports further noted that the Nigerian Police had failed to intervene in domestic disputes and as well remained reluctant to intervene to protect women who formally accused their husbands of abuse if the level of alleged abuse did not exceed customary norms in the areas. "According to the 2008 NDHS, 43 percent of women and 30 percent of men between the ages of 15 and 49 agreed that a husband may justifiably hit or beat his wife for at least one of five specified reasons, including burning food and arguing" it stated.

The reports added: "In June 2010 the government deposed the traditional ruler of Akure Kingdom in Ondo State after he attacked one of his wives in the street in full view of witnesses. Police stated that they would press assault charges against the perpetrator, and many in Ondo State and Abuja criticized the actions of the traditional ruler. In a countermeasure the accused filed an injunction naming police and the courts and asking the court to drop the case. There were no developments in the case by year's end"

On Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the report stated that officials of the anti-corruption agency reportedly singled out political opponents of the governing party in their arrest and detention of state, local, and federal government officials on corruption charges during the year.

"The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; however, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government and the security forces. The constitution provides immunity from civil and criminal prosecution to the president, vice president, governors, and deputy governors while in office.

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