Given recent media reports on Nigerian police brutality especially on the controversy over the death of a Remo Stars Football Club’s player, Tiyamu Kazeem, NOIPolls presents findings from its past poll on “Police Brutality”. The poll which was conducted in the week commencing May 6th , 2019, assessed the opinions of Nigerians regarding police personnel brutality, illegal activities and suggestions on ways to curb the menace.
The findings revealed that a large proportion of Nigerians nationwide disclosed that police brutality on Nigerians is prevalent. Sadly, 40 percent of those interviewed further reported that they have either been or know someone who has been brutalised by Nigeria police personnel. The increase in the case of Police brutality has led to intense pressure from the public to reform the Nigeria Police Force and as such the Nigerian Senate passed the Police Reform Bill in April 2019 for presidential assent. One of the outstanding features of the bill is that it provides internal disciplinary mechanism for any police officer that maltreats or kills an innocent citizen.
Further findings revealed that a larger proportion of Nigerians (34 percent) cited ‘poor police welfare’ as the major cause of police brutality on citizens. Other mentions include ‘inadequate training’ of the Nigeria police personnel (17 percent), ‘lack of contentment and greed’ (11 percent), ‘lack of experience’ and the issue of ‘corruption’ within the Nigeria Police Force amongst other mentions. Therefore, there is need for the deployment of a strict measure to curb the menace. The onus now lies on the executive to assent to the Police Reform Bill as a matter of urgency to ensure that this act is put to an end.
The figure below gauged the prevalence of police brutality in Nigeria and 77 percent of the respondents stated that the issue of police brutality in Nigeria is prevalent whereas, 23 percent claimed it is not prevalent. Analysis by geopolitical zone showed that Nigerians residing in the South-South and South-West zones (87 percent each) accounted for the larger proportion of Nigerians who asserted that the issue of police brutality is prevalent.
Respondents were further probed if they have or someone, they know has been recently brutalised in any way by Nigerian police personnel; and poll result revealed that 40 percent of the respondents have either been or know someone who has been recently brutalised by Nigerian police personnel. For instance, news report revealed that on March 2nd 2019, a police officer shot a bus driver dead in Mosan, Ayobo area of Lagos for refusing to give the police officer some amount of money he had demanded from the bus driver.1 Subsequently, opinions on the main cause of police brutality were assessed and findings revealed that poor police welfare (34 percent) is the major cause of police brutality on citizens. This is followed by those who mentioned ‘inadequate training’ (17) of the Nigerian police personnel, ‘lack of contentment and greed’ (11 percent), ‘lack of experience’ and the issue of ‘corruption’ within the Nigerian Police Force amongst other mentions.
In conclusion, the poll has shown that police brutality on citizens in Nigeria is prevalent as indicated by 77 percent of Nigerians. Also, 4 in 10 Nigerians specified that they have either been or know someone who has been brutalized by police personnel. Therefore, there is need for a far-reaching measure to curb the menace. The increase in the case of Police brutality has led to intense pressure from the public to reform the Nigerian Police Force and as such the Nigerian Senate passed the Police Reform Bill for presidential assent. One of the notable features of the bill is that it provides internal disciplinary mechanism for any police officer that maltreats or kills an innocent citizen. Finally, while the passage of the Police Reform Bill is a laudable effort, it is worthy to note that the Nigeria police are privy to the fundamental human rights’ provisions under chapter 4 of the 1999 constitution, as amended. Therefore, firearms against any citizen “except in self – defence or defence of others against threat of death or severe injury or to prevent the escape of a person who has committed a serious or deadly crime while resisting their authority” is unprofessional and barbaric