From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Citizens’ Action for Good Governance (CAGG), a group of human rights activists, has faulted claims of the alleged ill-treatment of 24 suspects in police custody over forgery and impersonation during recruitment of 10,000 police personnel.
CAGG National Coordinator Nazir Galandanchi, in a statement on Monday, said the claim purportedly made by one activist, Mahadi Shehu, was not in accordance with the principle of fair hearing as embedded in the Nigerian Constitution.
Galandanchi explained that the police have the constitutional powers to investigate and punish anyone found culpable in any offence, including police officers found to be corrupt and tarnishing the image of the Nigerian Police Force.
He accused Shehu of not carrying out a thorough investigation but allowing his emotions to overrun the facts of the matter he claimed to be in the know.
‘We have done a thorough investigation over the claims of one Mahadi Shehu, who called himself an activist, alleging that 24 young men under the age of 28 were ill-treated and dehumanised by the Nigerian Police Force in one of its facilities in Abuja,’ Galandanchi stated.
“From our findings, the 24 suspects were alleged to impersonate 24 persons from Kano State whose slots were taken and given to them by some police officers that connived with them to commit the crime.
‘Following the evidence of the petition, the Governor of Kano State wrote to the Inspector-General of Police over the stolen slots for his state number 24, which the IGP immediately swung into action with his team to investigate the matter, and proved that these 24 suspects and police officers involved in the illicit business were guilty of the crime.
‘Our findings also showed that the investigation of the police over the crime at Police College Maiduguri (PCM) was really committed by some identified police officers and the 24 suspects of impersonation and forgery.
‘[The] claim by Shehu [that] nobody comes to visit the 24 suspects is not true because people come to visit them where they are, including officials of the court who are aware of the circumstances that brought them to detention as their trial continues.
‘The statement of Shehu also alleged that the suspects were threatened to be killed by a police officer is not true. These are Nigerians and they have the right to life as bona fide citizens of this country. No policeman can just wake to kill a suspect,’ the CAGG National Coordinator said.
‘We await the outcome of the court judgment on this case, which we believe the law will take its course no matter the personalities involved in this matter,’ he concluded.