Mr Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has said individual police officers responsible for violation of human rights should be made to personally pay damages imposed by the court.
According to Falana, human rights abuses remain prevalent in Nigeria because when victims of rights violation get court judgments, it is the Nigeria Police Force, and not the individual officer responsible for the violation that pays the damages imposed by the court.
98% OF OUR READERS ALSO LIKED,Zamfara to sentence drivers to death for reckless driving
The human rights lawyer declared this while speaking at a recent virtual symposium, with the theme, ‘Human rights violations in Nigeria: Time to end impunity and way forward’, organised by Legal Touch Initiative.
Also at the symposium was the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu; labour lawyer and human rights activist, Mr Femi Aborisade; a former special adviser to the FCT Minister, Henry Shield; and a human rights lawyer, Mr Tope Akinyode.
Falana said, “Arresting people in lieu of criminal suspects has been prohibited but still goes on everyday and the other painful one, and we must make this clear to the public; why is the Nigeria Police Force paying damages for the responsibilities and negligence of its officers?
“I have been pleading with the human rights community; if your client is detained, don’t sue the police alone, sue the police officer involved and ask for specific damages against him.
“If by the time the judgment is delivered, he has retired, let them take part of his pension; that will serve as a lesson for people. But right now, they detain illegally, some get killed, the officers involved get promoted, retire with their benefits. For me, that should not be allowed.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, Ikoyi marriage registry reopens for wedding ceremonies
Falana stressed that the parade of criminal suspect was illegal, saying it was discriminatory against poor people.
“The parade of suspects, I have argued repeatedly, is a class matter. You only parade the poor; nobody will parade a permanent secretary or minister who has stolen N10bn. But those who have robbed people of a few thousand naira are paraded by the police.
“The parade of suspect is illegal; it is against the right to dignity of persons because every suspect is still presumed innocent,” He said.
On his part, the NHRC Executive Secretary, Ojukwu, said the human rights situation in Nigeria had improved compared to what obtained during the military era.
READ MORE BREAKING NIGERIAN NEWS ON ABOKIFX