Alumni blast police over invitation to human rights chief



The Federal Government College Okigwe Old Students Association (FEGOCOOSA) Abuja chapter has faulted the purported invitation of Chairman, Governing Council of National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu for what the Nigerian Police Force perceived as “damaging remarks.”

Prof. Odinkalu, who was summoned to appear before the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) in Abuja on Friday by 11.00am did not show up but wrote to Acting Inspector General of Police Mohammed Abubakar seeking further clarifications on the invitation and suggesting a meeting on Tuesday.

But President of Federal Government College Okigwe Old Students Association (FEGOCOOSA) Abuja chapter, Engr. Okey Chikwendu warned the Mohammed Abubakar-led Nigeria Police to preoccupy itself with the monumental task of providing security to life and property and not harassment of those engaged in the legitimate conduct of their affairs.

Engr. Chikwendu decried the purported invitation to Prof. Odinkalu insisting that it was in bad faith and clearly showed that the Abubakar-led Nigerian Police Force appears to be travelling a familiar road of chasing the shadow and not the substance.

“If the Nigeria Police had any misgivings about the remarks Prof. Odinkalu made on March 5 while making a presentation at a seminar, the exchanges in writing between the human rights chief and the Nigerian Police authorities should have adequately addressed the matter instead of the recourse to this jackboot intimidating invitation to a public official who was doing his job to the best of his ability,” Chikwendu said.

“This old tactics of the Police of intimidating perceived enemies infringes on the freedom of expression as enshrined in the constitution. It is high time the Nigeria Police rises to the challenge of its mandate and not to be engaged in a battle of intimidation and oppression,” he added.

According to the President of the Alumni, the Acting IGP, who had promised to reinvent and transform the Nigeria Police, had himself in recent times been vocal about the sorry state of the Police he met.

“Moreover, the Acting Inspector General of Police has been long enough in the Police to know about the state of extra-judicial killings in the Force.

He noted that the Police chief needs the collaboration and not intimidation of the likes of Odinkalu to achieve his desired goal of ushering in a new order in the Nigeria Police

Prof  Odinkalu, who is also the Africa Programme Director of the Open Society Justice Initiative and a Lecturer at Harvard Law School is an alumnus of Federal Government College Okigwe (Class of 83). He was on April 1, 2012 honoured by his alumni for being a worthy ambassador of the school and for his contributions to the promotion of human rights in Nigeria and Africa

 

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