Security experts have advised the Federal Government to recruit more security personnel as the current crop of officers isn’t enough to secure the whole country.
CRIMECHANNELS gathered that the call was made at a stakeholders roundtable held in Lagos State. The meeting according to reports, was organised by Avocats SANs Frontiers France also known as Lawyers Without Borders ‘SAFE’ Project.
Participants of the meeting decried the state of security in the country. They described the ratio of Nigeria’s security personnel of 450,000 to its population of about 200 million people as grossly inadequate, adding that the security of Nigerian citizens can’t be guaranteed due to the low number of its security agents.
Speaking at the meeting, the Head of office, ASF France in Nigeria, Mrs Angela Uwandu, said that the prevalence of human rights violations in the country, especially with regard to frequent cases of arbitrary arrest and detention by security agencies was one of the reasons for organising the event.
She said, “We believe firmly that the issues of human rights violations need to be tackled; they cannot be condoned. That is why the project is being carried out in Lagos, Enugu and Kaduna States. These are issues that bother not just on the Constitution, but on various International standards”.
“Our correctional facilities are overcrowded with the majority of inmates being pre-trial detainees, some held for many years without trial. The judicial system is highly defective especially due to impunity and disrespect of fundamental principles for a fair trial.”
“The essence of having all the security agencies, civil society, Human Rights Commission, legal aid counsel, the media and even the Nigeria Bar Association, is to see how we can collaborate to ensure that incidents of human rights abuses become minimal in Lagos state.”
“When they occur we have to ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable, where there is no accountability, the impunity with which the human rights violations are perpetrated in Nigeria will continue”.
“We need to implement the existing law such as the Anti-Torture Act of 2017, to ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted under the extant law”.
Another speaker, Mrs Nneka Anigbo from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), advised that the project should not only train security agencies regularly but should also collaborate with them and offer advice on lingering challenges.
She said, “One thing is to train, another thing is to imbibe the training and practice in the course of their duties.”
“Some are trained and they will still stick to what they want to do, some are trained and practice the reforms. Police officers are also usually transferred and when it is time for follow up, you see different faces but then no knowledge is wasted.”
“Though there is improvement in Lagos with security agencies especially the police who are the closest to the people, and again, the senior officers are more cooperative. It’s the lower ranks that are more difficult to work on”.
Meanwhile, the event was attended by representatives of the Police, Army, NSCDC, NBA, DSS, Navy, NUJ, Legal Aid Council, NHRC and various NGOs such as Access to Justice.