Respect for human rights can engender trust for the Nigerian police

UNODC 2Dignitaries at a one-day national sensitization workshop on human rights for Commissioners of Police, which preceded a three-day training of trainers workshop on human rights for Assistant Commissioners of Police, have noted that respect for human rights can help the police to gain the trust of the society.

In an address at the opening ceremony of the workshops, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mamman Tsafe, said, “A human rights based approach to policing will ensure that our actions are in accordance with the fundamental principles for the development of just societies.” He thanked the European Union and the Embassy of Switzerland for providing funds for the workshop and said the sensitization and training programs would help enhance respect for human rights by police officers and the protection of members of the society.

In his speech, the Country Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Mr. Koli Kouame, represented by Mr. Jesse Wachanga, Project Officer at UNODC, said a number of surveys, including those conducted by UNODC, have shown the link between the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and trust in police authorities. “By safeguarding the fundamental rights of all citizens, the police will engender trust throughout the society and encourage the reporting of crime, thus contributing to more effective crime fighting and enhancement of justice for victims,” he said.

Dr. Hans-RudolfHoder, Ambassador of Switzerland to Nigeria, and Mr. Alan Munday, Head of Governance and Political Section at the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, who were also present at the occasion, congratulated the Nigeria Police Force for taking another step to strengthen their adherence to human rights and international standards. Mr. Munday praised the commitment by the police authorities towards achieving the goal of having “a trusted police force which is guided by the respect and protection of the rights of Nigerian citizens and is working hand in hand with communities to make Nigeria a safer place.”

On behalf of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tsafe presented a 408-page training manual on human rights for the police and a trainers’ guide, which were developed through consultations with a wide range of stakeholders. The manual contains 47 modules on different aspects of human rights, including gender, children’s rights, use of force and firearms, prevention of torture, etc. It will provide a roadmap for training of police officers on issues of human rights in Nigeria.

The sensitization workshop and the follow-up training of trainers were organized in collaboration with the Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) and the Embassy of Switzerland under the framework of the European Union funded project, “Support to the Justice Sector in Nigeria,” implemented by UNODC. The sensitization and training workshops aim to contribute to actions to foster a relationship of trust between police and the society through the entrenchment of the rule of law and respect for human rights.

Support to the Justice Sector in Nigeria is a 42-month project funded by the European Union with €26 million and implemented by UNODC to improve the effectiveness, accessibility, accountability, transparency, and fairness of the justice system in Nigeria. It supports key initiatives of the Federal Ministry of Justice to drive a coordinated, unified and integrated reform across the justice sector.