Disquiet in Nigeria police over continued arrest, detention without Covid-19 screening
London, March 23, 2020 (AltAfrica)-There is great deal of disquiet within the rank and file of the Nigerian police force in the different formations across the country over the continued arrest and detention of lawless Nigerians without screening for covid-19 infection
Investigation by AlternativeAfrica.com from police formations across Nigeria revealed that the front line police officers who daily interact with the people are very worried that that they are being sent out on daily basis to maintain law and order which includes arrest and detention of Nigerian who run vow of the law without adequate protection for themselves and those arrested
Of particular concern to them is the arrest and detention of new “criminals” who are currently being detained with the old inmates without covid-19 screening
A very senior ranked police source told AlternativeAfrica.com that ” as at now there is no single notice from the police hierarchy concerning operational guidelines on how we are to deal with this deadly virus and yet we are to maintain law and order. There is no hand sanitiser in any formation or test kits to screen detainees and the police themselves who are on the front line on daily basis
“Has the police protected themselves before enforcing the law banning people from congregation? See bros (brother) this is a serious matter, is the police immune to the disease? Everything they will push police forward what has the government put in place for them to protect themselves. This is not Okada ban ooo, this is a dangerous virus”
The source said as at Sunday, a number of people were arrested by different police stations across the country and clamped in detention without any covid-19 screening ” No single police formation in the country has any screening kit for the virus. Not one. This is a very dangerous thing to do”
Meanwhile, the police on Sunday asked his men across the country to enforce the social restriction order imposed by the government to halt the spread of the Coronavirus disease
PRESS RELEASE— Nigeria Police Force (@PoliceNG) March 22, 2020
Covid-19: IGP Orders Zonal AIGs/Command CPs to Enforce Social Restriction Orders
– Warns against unnecessary arrests/detention of suspects
Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) global health threat and the subsequent social restriction orders
In a statement unbehalf of the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu in Abuja on Sunday, the force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba directed zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and state police commissioners to strictly enforce the directives in their respective jurisdiction
He also counselled the citizens to avoid social visits to police stations and other police offices and minimise official visits, except where absolutely necessary.
The IG asked the senior officers not to condone cases of unnecessary arrests and detention of suspects.
The statement said, “Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 global health threat and the subsequent social restriction orders imposed by governments at all levels to enable its containment, the IG while enjoining citizens to voluntarily adhere to the orders, directs all Zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Commissioners of Police nationwide to ensure that all legitimate orders given in pursuant to the containment efforts are strictly enforced within their areas of jurisdiction.”
It reiterated that detention of suspects must be reduced to the barest minimum and that only very serious cases such as terrorism, armed robbery, homicide and other non-bailable offences should warrant detention.
The IG further directed that adequate measures must be put in place to screen persons to be committed into custody.
He ordered the CPs to immediately publicise phone numbers of their Command Control Rooms, Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers and other Tactical Commanders using the conventional and non-conventional media in order to facilitate alternative interacting and reporting options between the public and the police.
Also, the IG said he had ordered the immediate closure of the Nigeria Police Academy as well as all police primary and secondary schools nationwide.
The statement added that the Force Medical Services had been empowered and directed to step up sensitization programmes across commands, formations and barracks in the country.