The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Olumide Akpata, has called for better ways to hold erring police personnel accountable for their actions in the country.
He made the call on Thursday during his appearance on a Police Reform Townhall organised by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), in collaboration with Channels Television.
Akpata believes while the efforts to pass and sign the Police Act 2020 into law are commendable, the Act lacks some vital components.
“In this new Act, there does not appear to be a clearly laid out accountability framework, and that for me is a major concern.
“The Act is full of prescriptions; it is loaded with prescriptions as to what standard operating procedures should be regarding policing,” he said.
The NBA president added, “There are no consequences for bad behaviours and rules that govern how a policeman will be held accountable for their actions.”
He stressed the need for grassroots policing, saying it was important for the police to gain the trust of the citizen who they protect.
Akpata advised the police authorities to lead the enlightenment campaign aimed at educating the people as to what their rights were, as contained in the Act.
He stated that this was important in gaining the people’s trust, as the implementation strategies for the Police Act 2020 would determine its success.
The legal practitioner said, “The ever-widening trust deficit between the police and the citizens that they are meant to be protecting; speaking as a lawyer, I also know that this cynicism is a function of even just the relationship between the police and lawyer, you will be shocked to find out how abysmal that relationship is at the moment.”
“The trust between the police and even the lawyers has broken down, not to talk about police and the citizen.
“I am hoping that if we get those implementation strategies right, we should be able to arrive at our promise land,” he added.