No fewer than 31 policemen have been dismissed by the Nigeria Police Force after its Complaint Response Unit received 14,976 complaints against operatives.
The PUNCH reported that the unit, which was established in 2015 to receive complaints from citizens against erring policemen, stated in a report, on Tuesday, that no fewer than 11,567 complaints have been resolved, and over 258 officers have been punished.
In addition to the 31 policemen who have been dismissed, eight other operatives of the force are undergoing orderly room trials.
The unit added a total of N55.6m was recovered and returned to its owners between 2015 and 2021.
In 2021 alone, the unit said it received a total of 1,244 complaints against policemen nationwide.
It added that out of the complaints, 876 had been resolved, 351 are currently being investigated and 25 of the complaints, after investigations, were found to be false.
The unit also noted that in 2021, the Lagos State Police Command recorded the highest number of cases with 327 complaints, followed by the Federal Capital Territory Command which had 210. Delta State Command recorded 85 complaints while Rivers State Command ranked fourth with 80 complaints.
The document read in part, “Commands/formations with the highest cases of professional misconduct in Nigeria are state headquarters in Rivers State with 16 cases; Federal Headquarters (15); Abattoir in FHQ (15); FCT Command (13); Ikeja in Lagos (9); Alagbon in Lagos (5) Maitama Division in FCT (4); Kubwa Division in FCT (4); FESTAC Division in Lagos State (4) and Chouba Area Command in Rivers State (4).
“The Rivers State Command headquarters recorded the highest cases of demanding money for bail, while the top four formations accused of demanding money for bail were recorded in Rivers State. This indicates the need for a review of leadership in these formations.
“The Rivers State Command headquarters recorded the most excessive use of force complaints nationwide, followed by the Meiran Division and state headquarters, Lagos, then FCT.”
The Executive Director, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, Okechukwu Nwanguma, commended the unit, adding that the report would help the police to take necessary action to cleanse the force.
He said, “First of all, this would be the first time that the CRU would be publishing and presenting its quarterly report publicly. It is a testament to how transparent and accountable the CRU is under its current leadership.
“You could see that Rivers State has the highest number of complaints. This should send a message to the Rivers State police authorities to look inwards and address this bad record.
“For states that recorded low numbers, it is also important to find out whether this is an indication of low levels of misconduct by police personnel in those states, or low levels of awareness about the CRU or lack of knowledge of how to report complaints.”
The Chairman, Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran, urged the unit to do more of this to help the police redeem its stained image.
He said, “They are on the right track, not minding the amount being recovered among others. That they recognised that their personnel engage in corrupt practices and other unethical practices is commendable.
“This would make other personnel with the mindset to abuse their position to have a rethink. In general, we need more of this for them to redeem their battered image and restore the confidence of the populace in the NPF. We urge them to step up and improve on this internal cleansing.”