From Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Nigeria Police Force has concluded plans to partner with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to establish a joint committee to harmonise functions and develop a new framework for promoting due process and the rule of law.
According to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Alkali Baba, the collaboration would also assist in promoting a seamless working relationship between police officers and defence attorneys.
The police chief made this known when he received the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Barr Olumide Akpata, at the Louise Edet House.
He said setting up the joint committee has become necessary to deal with recurring cases of unnecessary antagonism between Police officers and defence attorneys and to promote respect for the rights and privileges of the citizens during criminal investigations.
The IGP in a statement signed by Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, reaffirmed the commitment of the Nigeria Police Force to the advancement of the criminal justice processes in Nigeria, even as he said that the committee members would be drawn from both the Bar and the police.
Mba said in the statement:
‘The IGP, during the meeting, pledged that the Force would work in sync with the NBA in a Joint Committee soon to be established – aimed at harmonising functions and developing new framework and protocols for promoting due process and the Rule of Law, dealing with issues of unnecessary antagonism between Police officers and defence attorneys, and promoting respect for the rights and privileges of the citizens during criminal investigations. He further noted that the collaboration would also assist in promoting a seamless working relationship between Police officers and defence attorneys. The committee shall have its members drawn from both the Bar and the NPF.
‘The IGP, while acknowledging that the Force has one of the largest pool of licensed legal practitioners in the country, revealed that there are plans in place for effective utilisation of the Police lawyers as well as advancing professionalism for lawyers within the Force.
‘In his comments, the President of the NBA appreciated the IGP for the various reforms being championed by the current Police leadership, especially those bordering on promoting the rights and privileges of the citizens. He advocated more goodwill between the Police and members of the Bar as cardinal players within the Nigerian Criminal Justice System. He also commended the Police Complaint Response Unit for always responding to complaints and issues of frictions between defence lawyers and the Police. Other members of the NBA delegation are Barr. John Aikpokpo Martins – NBA Vice President, Mrs Joyce Oduah – NBA General Secretary, Barr. Tunde Edun, Barr. Benard Oniga and Barr. Isah Abubakar Aliyu.’