strengthening internal and external processes and mechanisms for holding law enforcement and security agencies accountable for their conduct in the discharge of their duties and making such mechanisms open for use by members of the public wishing to lodge complaints against misconduct.
Civilian oversight which is also referred to as ‘external accountability’ involves people from outside the police taking a role in calling the police to account for their actions, policies and organisation. Most civilian oversight mechanisms have been particularly concerned with complaints against the police. However, this can be extended beyond complaints, that is, it can include broad areas of police practice and policy.
Where oversight mechanisms have been established they have rarely emerged because of a consensus among police, government, and advocates about their value. More often, they are the product of struggles and compromises made between those who support oversight and those who resist it, and between those with competing visions of what oversight should look like. Indeed, the police themselves have variously supported or opposed oversight mechanisms in different times and locations.
The External accountability arm of the Police Accountability component of CLEEN Foundation is presently working with various oversight bodies in Nigeria:
1. Police Service Commission:
The Police Service Commission project is aimed at building and strengthening the capacity of the PSC in carrying out its mandate. The specific objectives of the project are as follows:
• Development and dissemination of standard guidelines to monitor recruitment, discipline, promotions etc in the Nigeria Police Force;
• Development of performance indicators to assess service delivery of the Nigeria Police Force to members of the public;
• Exposure of some of the members of staff to the work of civilian oversight bodies in Africa and other parts of the world so as to have an insight into how they function.
• Building public awareness and support for the PSC as the civilian oversight body on Policing in Nigeria.
• Promoting the promulgation of an amendment to the PSC Act, for the PSC to have wider powers in the fulfilment of its mandate.
2. Ministry of Police Affairs:
• An administrative interagency committee called the ‘Police Performance Monitoring Unit’ was set up by the Minister of Police Affairs; Mr. Bozimo Broderick to respond to citizens’ complaints against police abuse of power as well as commendations for exemplary service in Nigeria .
Membership of the PPMU
1. Ministry of Police Affairs
2. Police Service Commission
3. Nigeria Police Force
4. Organised labour
5. Non governmental organisations and community based organisations
The PPMU in collaboration with CLEEN Foundation has developed some IEC materials for the police and National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). The posters read ‘This Station does not accept BRIBE, OBEY the LAW!’ and stickers read ‘OBEY THE LAW don’t offer me BRIBE’ for the Nigeria Police Force. Stickers that read ‘Do not ask me for BRIBE, I don’t give’ for the National Union of Road Transport Workers.
3. National Assembly:
Review of the Police Act: The proposed Police Bill was sent to the Legal department of the National Assembly to ensure that the content of the Bill is worked on by the legal draftsman. This is to ensure that the language and other technical issues in the Bill are standardised. The National Assembly has stated its commitment to ensuring that the new Police Act is passed before the end of this present administration.
Observing the proceedings of the judicial panel of enquiry on the extra judicial killings of 6 persons in Abuja popularly referred to as ‘the Apo Killings’.
CLEEN Foundation observed the proceedings of the judicial panel of enquiry established by the Federal Government on the 24th June 2005 to investigate the circumstances leading to the killing of six traders in Abuja by men of the Nigeria Police Force in Abuja on the allegation of the victims being armed robbers who engaged the police in a shoot out.
A report is being put together by CLEEN Foundation and it will be published and launched before the end of the first quarter of 2006.
Internal accountability entails the use of the existing internal disciplinary mechanisms within the police force to hold police officers accountable for their acts and conducts. If effectively utilized it will not only bring about transparency in the activities of the police but also build public confidence in the police.
CLEEN Foundation is currently implementing an internal accountability project aimed at enhancing police accountability in Nigeria in collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force. The project involves working closely with the Police Public Complaints Bureau (PCB) which is one of the internal disciplinary mechanisms to address complaints of members of the public against erring police officers. The focal states for implementation are Lagos, Kano and Rivers States.
The specific objectives of the project are as follows:
• Increase awareness about the existence of the PCB through jingles; posters; fliers and billboards
• Confidence building for members of the public in the activities of the PCB and Nigeria Police Force through the organization of periodic interactive forums between members of the public and stakeholders in policing.
• Streamlining the internal disciplinary procedure within the Nigeria Police Force;
• Publication of the police annual report.