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Tajudeen Abbas: Public trust in law enforcement shaking | Reform is essential to build justice

Tajudeen Abbas: Public trust in law enforcement shaking | Reform is essential to build justice
April 23
10:24 2024

Tajudeen Abbas, speaker of the house of representatives, says the public trust in law enforcement is “teetering”.

Speaking in Abuja on Monday at a national dialogue on state policing organised by the house of representatives, Abbas said Nigeria needs a law enforcement system that respects the rights and dignity of citizens.

“We are at a stage where public trust in law enforcement is teetering,” the speaker said.

“Also, the burden of policing the vast geographical expanse of our country and a rapidly expanding population warrants a reform of the current structure.

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“The need for a system that maintains law and order and upholds every Nigerian’s dignity and rights cannot be overstated. Reform is essential to heal and to build — rebuilding trust, rebuilding effectiveness, and rebuilding our shared commitment to justice.”

Abbas said the discussion must move beyond the need to reform the police and to a specific consensus on such reforms.

The speaker said the agreement on the policing model should be adaptable and sensitive to local contexts, considering Nigeria’s diversity.

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“As we explore the models of state policing that have been successful in other nations, we must be judicious in adapting these frameworks to fit our unique Nigerian context,” Abbas said.

“There is a palpable fear among our citizens – a fear of potential tyranny and the misuse of police powers if control is devolved to the state level.

“These concerns are not unfounded and must be addressed frontally, without bias or sentiments. This emphasizes the need for robust frameworks that ensure accountability, transparency, and equitable service delivery across all states.

“Equally important are setting stringent national standards, establishing oversight bodies, and involving communities in the policing process.”

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Abbas said the national assembly does not have a fixed position on the call for the establishment of state police, adding that the national dialogue was to generate the opinion of experts and stakeholders.

“Our discussions should be marked not by the pursuit of personal or political gains but by a steadfast commitment to the common good,” he said.

“As diverse and complex as our great country is, so too are the opinions and perspectives on how best to manage and implement local policing.

“It is only through open, inclusive, and respectful dialogue — like the one we are part of today — that we can build the necessary consensus.”

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