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Police oversight agencies key to effective policing reform—CLEEN Foundation

Globally, peace and security are fundamental for growth and development, thus, the Nigeria 1999 Constitution as amended provides that security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.

By this legal provision, the police are bestowed with the responsibilities of providing internal peace and security. As a result, Nigerian constitution, and the police Act give the police the necessary powers to carry out its responsibilities effectively.

Clearly, despite the legal powers given to the police, axiomatically, the colonial emergence of the Nigeria Police Force still distorts the psyche and orientation of what proper policing should be in the context of modern democracy and global security operation.

The colonial psyche of excessive use of power by the police created the believe that is making it difficult for accountable and civil policing. And this, explains the reasons why police continue to undergo reforms since the colonial Native Authority.

CLEEN recognises that there is the potential for abuse in the exercise of powers by the Police and other law enforcement agencies. Thus, the need to regulate their conduct in policing becomes most fundamental. And, one of the approaches that has evolved to regulating such powers is civilian oversight.

Our experiences have shown that external oversight agencies play a fundamental role in enhancing police accountability. We believe, working collectively, the police and the oversight agencies, can advance and reposition the police and other security agencies for a better policing.

It is in the pursuit of this mandate that Open Society Foundation (OSF) supports CLEEN Foundation to strengthen the capacity of police oversight agencies to work with the police and other security agencies to achieve effective policing. Implementing this, CLEEN, engaged Mr. Emmanuel Ojukwu, a retired Commissioner of Police to produce a draft working strategy for Police Oversight Agencies.

CLEEN organized a roundtable meeting for the draft review. The meeting brought together stakeholders from National Human Rights Commission, Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution, Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Policing Programme, Office of the National Security Adviser and Police Service Commission.
Resolutions and strategies reached at the meeting will be published in our next edition.

Doyinsola Adeyemo and Ruth Manzah, CLEEN Foundation

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