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Nigerian Army cries out over rising police brutality of military officers

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The Nigerian Army has bemoaned the killing of its personnel in joint operations with the Nigerian Police, directing all its formations and units to commence the collation of data victims of police brutality within its ranks in the last two years.

The army, in a letter signed by Major General James Ataguba, the Chief of Standards and Evaluation and sent to all units on November 23, bemoaned the killing of personnel most especially in joint operations with the police force.

“Consequently, all NA corps, formations, and establishments are requested to forward all recorded incidence of police brutality against personnel of the NA. The report should cover the last two years,” the army said in the document titled “Evaluating Incidences of Police Brutality Against Personnel of Nigerian Army”.

The institution, which said the brutality has led to bodily harm and the death of personnel, urged all units to submit the necessary data on or before December 8, 2021.

According to the army, violence often breaks during joint operations as police tend to equate its hierarchy with the Nigerian Army.

“These joint operations with other security agencies particularly the Nigerian Police (NP) create occasions for the police to equate its hierarchy with the NA and this has often led to friction especially at the lower levels,” it said.

“This friction has occasionally led to bodily harm and in some cases death to our troops. This is in spite of the fact that the victims have been identified and established to be serving personnel.”

The army, however, said it was conducting an evaluation of incidents with a view to finding measures to prevent future occurrences.

“This Dept is therefore conducting an evaluation of these occurrences with a view to establishing the frequency and recommending possible remedial measures to stem the tide,” it added.

Both the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian military saddled with the responsibilities of securing lives have over time been embroiled in the brutalisation and extrajudicial killing of Nigerians.

The recent report of the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the Lekki Tollgate shooting also indicted both institutions in the shooting of unarmed youths who protested against police brutality and extrajudicial killings last year.

“After the Nigerian Army left, the Nigeria Police Force, followed up with the killing of the protesters, shooting directly at fleeing protesters into the shanties and the Lagoon at the Lekki Phase 1 Foreshore, close to the Lekki Toll Gate, floating corpse and one-shot close to Serah Ibrahim,” the report stated.

Also, they have been labeled criminal organisations by rights organisations and a Canadian court for their constant violations of human rights.
“Documentary evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that the NPF and the MOPOL unit committed human rights violations during Mr Ukoniwe’s service; and it was unlikely that he had no knowledge of these generalised violations despite the evidence that his awareness of criminal activity and human rights violations was limited to low-level corruption within the NPF,” the court document said after Osarewinda Ukoniwe, a former operative of the Mobile Police Force [MOPOL] was denied asylum.

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