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Police Training Is Colonial, Completely Archaic – Femi Falana

Foremost Human Rights Lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, took a retrospective review of the Nigeria Police, highlighting the major reason behind its unavoidable derailment as the institution is now famous for rights violations, extortion and brutality that has sparked protests across the country.

He disclosed this on Wednesday during an appearance on Channelstv Politics Today, via a Skype call, where the Senior Advocate traced the problem to how policemen and women are trained for their roles in those days.

He said: ”It is a process he believes is archaic and leaves officers with “no idea of human rights, human relations. We are really not addressing the problems,” he warned referring to efforts made to reform the police.”

According to him: “The training of the police is colonial; completely primitive. A man joining the Police Force, he goes to the police college. A woman goes to the police college dehumanised. A cannot make her hair; she has to cut her hair. A man has to shave his hair to the skull. The feeding is bad.”

Falana’s comments come amid widespread protests against police brutality, especially the activities of the now-dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad that became notorious for extortion, assault, and killings.

The human rights lawyer who has repeatedly condemned rights violations by the police is not, however, surprised by the terror unleashed on citizens by members of the unit and many of their colleagues in the force overtime. Police training in the country, he said, prepares them to disregard rights.

Femi further stressed that: “they are trained like colonial policemen to brutalise the society and that is what is going on, and it is not just starting.

He maintained that as far back as the Second Republic, issues of extrajudicial killings had emerged with the Nigerian Mobile Police unit at the receiving end of allegations of brutality.

“So, those who are in mobile unit – we used to call them kill and go in the Second Republic under IGP (Sunday) Adewusi (in office from 1981-1983), that has transformed into SARS.”

The Human Rights Lawyer added that: ”The brutality as far as Falana is concerned is implanted in their psyche at the police college. What is the training in the college? They (trainees) are teargassed in rooms without windows. And for them (the authorities) that is the way to train them. They are beaten, tortured, and the feeding is bad. So when the man or the woman comes out of the college, he wants to brutalise the society that dehumanised him in the college.”

About the issue of Police Officers’ salaries and welfare with barracks and stations which are being denied adequate funding, he said: “Police stations are not funded. So, daily, to run the station, the DPOs depend on extortion of money from the public, from suspects. Some stations are not built by the government but by members of the community.”

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