A coalition of civil society organisations has stated that the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, has displayed unprofessionalism by ordering the Indigenous People of Biafra members to be shot dead in the South-East.
The coalition of 19 civil societies declared that Baba is unfit to lead the Nigeria Police Force and should therefore not be confirmed by the National Assembly.
The civil societies stated these in a state-of-the-country release on Saturday, adding that the police should be careful about arresting and parading innocent residents in the South-East states as IPOB members without deep investigation.
Some of the CSOs are Spaces for Change, African Centre for Media & Information Literacy, Centre for Transparency Advocacy, COMPPART Foundation for Justice and Peacebuilding, Orlu Security Peace Holders Initiative, Initiative for Public Safety, Security and Educational Development in Nigeria, Public Enlightenment Projects (PEP), African Centre for Entrepreneurship and Information Development, and the Centre Against Injustice and Domestic Violence.
Others are World Impact Development Foundation, Ace & Vanguard Legal Practitioners, Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication, The Difference Newspapers, Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development, Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights, Nde Oduko Foundation, RULAAC, Human Rights Social Development and Environmental Foundation and the Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption.
The organisations said, “We are more urgently concerned by the Inspector General of Police’s directive to police officers to enforce the President’s unconstitutional shoot at sight order and his further explicit directive that they should go after IPOB members and kill them. He also expressly asked them to ignore the rules of engagement- including observing the principle of proportionality in the use of force and firearms, with assurances that nothing will happen to them if they abuse human rights.
“Following the said IGP’s reckless, unprofessional and dangerous directive, the police in Imo State have gone all out on indiscriminate mass raids, arresting, parading and killing people labelling them IPOB without evidence. We have received disturbing reports about the invasion of markets and other public places by police officers who engage in sporadic shooting and indiscriminate arrest of young men, some of whom are stabbed with daggers and taken away in police vehicles undisclosed destinations.
“Raids and indiscriminate mass arrests of no less than 107 persons from various locations in Owerri have also been reported and kangaroo mass trials conducted in a police car park and other locations outside the courtroom based on frivolous charges and remanded in prison thereby complicating the problem of prison congestion.”
The civil societies added that the Nigeria Police has a Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement but the IGP discarded them and directed police officers to act in blatant violation of those.
They said, “Based on the Acting IGP’s reckless and dangerous utterances and directives to police officers to disregard the Code of conduct and rules of engagement, we hereby convey our opposition to his confirmation as substantive IGP. We call on the Police Council and the Senate to, in the public interest, muster the courage to decline confirmation of Acting Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, as substantive IGP.
“He is unfit and unsuitable to be appointed to head a country’s lead security agency. He is indeed a threat to public safety and security. We call for an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the arrest of no less than 107 residents of Owerri Imo State who were also alleged to be IPOB members and arraigned on the preposterous allegation of attempts to overthrow President Buhari and Governor Hope Uzodinma.
“We also call for investigations into all other killings in Imo State by both the military and police and an end to predatory policing tactics.”