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Killings By Police: Which Reforms Would Work [Analysis]

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By Zacchaeus Ukhueleigbe

There is something common among most murder cases perpetrated by policemen: the erring officers get dismissed. That is impressive, but that is only one end of the rope.

Another common thing is that the bulk of those murder cases only have their prequels in the spotlight, nobody knows what happens after — not even those infamous officers we are told have been sentenced to death. How about that? Not impressive.

One of the most recent killings happened on September 10, 2021. While running for her safety, 18-year-old Monsurat Ojuade tragically lost her life to the bullet of a trigger-happy policeman. Some days after, it was announced that the officer, Sergeant Samuel Phillips, was dismissed from the Nigeria Police Force following his orderly room trial.

The outcomes of these two incidences show the deliberate effort of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to prove to the public that it is pursuing justice. If truly the security outfit pursues justice, one wonders how far it goes to get it.

Justice is fairness, justice is all about upholding what the law says. It is only when justice is served that a warning message is passed to people who are likely to commit such crimes in future.

 

Which Reforms Would Work?

How dreadful does it sound when you say if you kill a man, you will lose your job? It sounds to me ridiculous.

It sounds so much as a pep-talk for a pampered murderer: After all, you have nothing to lose, only your job; and that, my friend is a trivial thing to lose because you can be your own boss.

The Nigeria Police Force risk losing Public Trust if dismissal from service is the highest level of punishment meted out on Police Officers who unlawfully kill any citizen. By the virtue of section 319 of the Criminal Code, “Any person who commits the offence of murder shall be sentenced to death”.

Also, by the virtue of section 320 of the same Criminal Code anyone who tries to commit an unlawful murder — like dismissed Police Sergeant, Eze Aiwansoba who shot someone’s lover in the mouth — is “guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for Life”.

Should they kill them? That is not the essence of this piece; let’s leave the answer to the Judge after he must have conducted a fair trial for all parties involved. In the real sense, it is about ensuring a transparent process of delivering justice to restate lost confidence in the heart of the bereaved family and by extension, the masses.

You don’t create a news buzz for dismissing a police officer after wrongfully killing a citizen and keep mum on it until everyone forgets about it that’s not justice for the deceased, it is not justice for the bereaved family.

Dismissing Police Officers after unlawfully killing a citizen is not enough. If the police authorities are willing to dispense true justice let them be transparent with it. They should deliver justice in time as well because justice delayed is also justice denied.


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