Deji Adeyanju, the convener of a civil society group known as Concerned Nigerians, has said he took staged a protest rally at the headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force to express his concerns over the perceived politicization of the Nigeria Police Force ahead of the 2019 general elections.
He gave this explanation on Wednesday in a statement he co-signed with the conveners of five other civil society organisations in Abuja.
The other signatories are Adebayo Raphael (Mumu Don Do Movement), Ariyo Dare Atoye, (Coalition in Defence Of Nigerian Democracy), Nwazuruahu Henry Shield (Leadership & Accountability Initiative) and Moses Paul (Mad Connect).
Adeyanju, who was arrested shortly after the protest began, said the concerns he and other activists sought to express were based on the current state of affairs in the country where the Nigerian Police Force is increasingly seen as becoming a tool to be used against real and perceived political enemies of the ruling party were worsening.
The statement reads: “We gathered to express our concerns about the current state of affairs in the country where the Nigerian Police Force is increasingly becoming a tool to be used against real and perceived political enemies of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). These concerns have worsened as we have watched the institution of the Police become more and more desecrated as time passes by.
“The most recent example of this desecration is the use of officers of the Police Force to provide security cover for 5 members of the 26 member Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to cause chaos and confusion in their illegal attempt to impeach the Speaker of the House.
“Before this, we had seen the Police Force provide security cover for a few members of the Benue State House of Assembly to attempt to impeach the Speaker of the House as well.
“These events are closely allied to the deaths of Micahel Adikwu, the major suspect in the Offa robbery and Nuhu Salisu, the major suspect in the allegations against Senator Dino Melaye for gun running in Police custody. In both cases, both men have been announced dead by the police in suspicious circumstances thereby ensuring that the cases are more difficult to resolve.
“It is important to note that these deaths come at a time when Nigerians clamor for a conclusion to their trials. It is also important to note that statements made by both men absolve the major opposition figures against whom the allegations were made of any wrongdoing.
“The deaths of these men raise several questions about ability of the police to provide justice to victims of violent crimes. What are the causes of death? Did the Police conduct an autopsy? Where are the autopsy reports? At what point did the suspects die?”
“Having reviewed the above, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the Police Force as constituted under the current Inspect General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has become a threat to our democracy. IGP Idris’ penchant for bias and willingness to be used as a tool against real or perceived enemies of the ruling APC is very clear and apparent.
“It is in this light that we called on President Muhammadu Buhari to remove IGP Idris from office, institute an investigation into the invasion of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly by the Police, to determine the officer(s) who gave the orders for this illegal action and to bring such officers to book, and also institute a transparent investigation into the deaths of the two prime suspects in police custody and make the findings public.
“It is important for the President to note that the continued retention of the IGP in office is likely to lead to anarchy as he constantly seeks to bend and break the very laws he swore to protect in the first place.
“President Buhari should be reminded that when the former DG of SSS directed his men to invade the National Assembly in an attempt to change the leadership, the then Acting President -Professor Yemi Osinbajo sacked Daura. We expect same treatment for the IGP in this case of invasion of the Akwa State House of Assembly.
“Nigerians must note that the tenure of the IGP has expired and if President Muhammadu Buhari insists on keeping IGP Idris in office, both men will be held responsible for any calamity that befalls the nation,” the statement concluded.