Nigerian police aggression, which includes pointing loaded automatic weapons at drivers who have done nothing to arouse suspicion, is necessary, say the Nigerian Police. One task force called SARS is known for stopping cars at random telling the drivers to “get out now!”
Last year alone, says Nigerian Marxist Iyabo Aje, was “a catalogue of woe.” The cops murder everyone: journalists, students, bankers, workers. Police vans are seen speeding away from mysterious “suicide” scenes.
The list of nefarious activities of the police is unending. The cited cases are just a few examples of the “dividends of democracy” handed to the people by the present bourgeois government through the police force.
– Iyabo Aje, Marxist.com
The reluctance to prosecute officers known for killing innocents emboldens more officers to kill, and keeps the public eerily silent. In February the BBC sent journalist Andrew Walker to investigate. Walker explains an incident that happened behind closed doors during an interrogation.
“You will take us to your accomplices,” orders Mr Osaghae.
“I don’t know who you are talking about,” says the man.
“Why are you lying? Take him back to the cells. In 15 minutes you will tell the truth,” says Mr Osaghae.
When asked what he meant by that, he refuses to elaborate.
Before speaking to another suspect, Mr Osaghae asks for 15 minutes alone with him.
When the BBC is let back in the room, the man tearfully confesses to being a kidnapper.
Mrs Okenyodo says the Cleen Foundation has pictures and witness statements that accuse Sars police of torture and killing of suspects.
Enugu Commissioner of Police Mohammed Zarewa denies his men beat confessions out of people – the deaths are likely to be as a result of fire-fights with armed criminals, he says.
“Any criminal can get a lawyer and make up a story,” he says.
Mr Zarewa has just been posted to Enugu, and he promises to investigate any accusation levelled against his officers.
But Mrs Okenyodo says none of the cases brought up by police reform activists have been investigated.
“The east of Nigeria, in terms of policing, is crazy,” she says.
In Enugu, neighborhood watch groups take up shotguns and walk around with drums to notify armed robbers and residents that they are being looked over. The police force, they say, is nowhere to be seen at night because they are busy guarding big businesses and the wealthy classes.