The Nigeria Police Force is secretly gathering momentum to counter the army on the allegations of police brutality against its personnel, FIJ can exclusively report.
This is based on a letter by Usman Baba Alkali, the Inspector-General of Police, to Farouk Yahaya, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), and another internal message transmitted within the Katsina State Police Command.
A letter titled ‘Evaluating Incidences of Police Brutality Against Personnel of Nigerian Army’, which was signed by Major General J. A. Ataguba and dated November 23, had directed all army formations and units to compile cases of harassment and killing of army personnel by the police in the previous two years.
The leaked letter partly reads: “The Nigerian Army (NA) is constitutionally tasked to provide aid to civil authorities when called upon. This responsibility has occasioned conducting joint activities with members of the civil and paramilitary organisations. These joint operations with other security agencies, particularly the Nigeria Police (NP), create occasions for the police to equate its hierarchy with the NA and this has often led to friction, especially at the lower levels.
“This friction has occasionally led to bodily harm and, in some cases, death to our troops. This is in spite of the fact that the victims had been identified and established to be serving personnel.
“This department is therefore conducting an evaluation of these occurrences with a view to establishing the frequency and recommending possible remedial measures to stem the tide. Consequently, all NA corps, formations and establishments are please requested to forward all recorded incidents of police brutality against personnel of the Nigerian Army.”
In a direct response to this, IGP Alkali firmly advised Yahaya to consult the Nigeria Police for statistics on the altercations that had existed between the two security arms.
“For purpose of balanced feedback which will inform an authentic statistics for the purpose of the protocol however, I think it will be most appropriate to also seek feedback/input from the Nigeria Police Force on statistics (and perhaps summarised narratives) on Police – Army and Army – Police altercations over a specified period of time. Perhaps, you could also consider involving the Research and Statistics Department of the Nigeria Police in the team working on the analysis towards achieving your stated research objectives in an all-relevant and inclusive stakeholder approach,” the IGP’s letter, obtained by FIJ, partly reads.
“This will not only address concerns evolving in the social media that the letter under reference is ill-intentioned, especially coming at this time that both the military and the police are under public scrutiny following the recently leaked report of the Lagos State SARS panel report.”
Alkali, at the end, assured Yahaya of the police’s efforts to sustain a warm inter-agency relationship with the army.
Taking a cue from the IGP, Sanusi Buba, the commissioner of police in Katsina, directed all the heads of departments, assistant commissioners, and other senior officers in the command to “forward the list of any military brutality against police incident, be it harassment, destruction of police properties, or physical confrontation from 2017 to date”.
The senior officers were instructed to submit their findings on or before Tuesday, November 30.
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