By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu
A group known as the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Action Centre (RULAAC) has said it was monitoring recent directive by the Inspector General of Police, Mr Muhammed Adamu, to police personnel to minimize arrest and detention of persons who commit simple offences.
The group also said that the project derives support from the Open Society Justice Initiative.
A statement by the Executive Director of RULAAC, Mr Okechukwu Nwanguma, noted that the group was also monitoring law enforcement action within the framework of COVID-19 lockdown and curfew enforcement.
“The monitoring also assesses compliance with the recent Operational Guidelines for the Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies on COVID-19 prevention enforcement duties launched by the IGP as part of measures to foster a more harmonious relationship between the police and members of the public, deepen respect for the rights of citizens, provide a new set of policing tools for tackling emerging crimes such as domestic violence, rape, child molestation and other incidents of gender-based violence (GBV)’.
“The main objective of this intervention is to generate data with which to engage the police and law enforcement authorities on reforms focusing on the pretrial phase,” the organisation said.
It said prt of what the monitoring tends to achieve is an assessment of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on criminal justice work in Nigeria.
According to RULAAC, state monitors are to identify and report deviations from the directives and guidelines, abusive conducts and human rights violations as well as how well the police are equipped and protected to effectively carry out their duties and how far they comply with NCDC protocols, while the monitoring duration is between May 30, 2020, and November 30, 2020.
The group further explained that the project builds on the synergy developed under the Justice Initiative/RULAAC supported Police Stakeholders Partnership Forum (PSPF) in Anambra State and hopes to extend the platform to five other states as a mechanism for holding Nigerian police personnel to account for rights violations while growing skills and awareness to ensure prevention and diminution of such violations.
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