No fewer than 120 police officers in specialised units within the Police Command in Enugu State are undergoing human rights training in Enugu, at a three-day programme to improve professionalism in the force.
The officers undergoing the training are drawn from Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Anti-Cultism Unit, Special Anti-Terrorism Squad, IGP Special Squad and host of others on special assignments.
Declaring the three-day training open on Monday, the Acting Inspector General of Police (I-G), Mr Mohammed Adamu, said that the training was meant to improve professionalism of officers, who would take the training down to their subordinates and rank-and-file.
Adamu, represented by the Commissioner of Police in-charge of Training, Mr Abiodun Odude, said that the training was part of a holistic reform to get personnel of police well equipped to discharge their duties and win the trust of Nigerians.
“The police have zero tolerance for human rights abuses and will not fail to sanction any officer found to have abused people’s human rights and rubbished the professional integrity of the Nigeria Police.
“This is why the Nigeria Police is partnering with reputable organisations to bring the training down to command and unit levels, so that all can learn and those with bad orientation can change for good,’’ he said.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Sulaiman Balarabe, thanked the I-G for approving that the officers in the command would partake in the intensive training, meant to reposition them for efficiency and good relations with members of the public.
“I sincerely believe that after the training and other follow up trainings, our officers will increase their knowledge of human rights, which will in turn make our community-police crime fighting approach effective and people-oriented,’’ Balarabe said.
Earlier, the Executive Director of Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), Dr Uju Agomoh, said that the training going on in Enugu was the first time the human rights training was being scaled down to unit levels.
Agomoh, whose organisation is providing technical support for the training, said rather than call for banning of police units, the need was to train, retrain and support the units to get the best.
“When you have headache, you don’t call for the cutting off of your head, rather, you diagnose and take medication that will stop it. This training tries to discover root causes of human rights abuse in the police and tackle them,’’ she said.
Mr Hartmut Zander, Project Manager of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), said the agency had been sponsoring reforms and trainings in the Nigeria Police through its `Police Programme Africa’, which had been running for over three years.
Zander, represented by Amokeye Agim, said that GIZ’s aim was to ensure holistic reform in the way police jobs were carried out, and promote international best practices in policing within Nigeria and Africa at large.