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A leading human rights group, Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) has organized a training for some selected police officers and youths in Ogun state on human rights violation and alternative to violence.
PLATFORM TIMES reports that the training which was held at the Officer’s mess in Abeokuta had in attendance highly profile police officers and selected youths from different local government areas of the state.
PLATFORM TIMES further reports that while the police officers were trained on human rights violation, the selected youths were in a special class to learn about alternative to violence.
Speaking at the training, the Deputy Director of PRAWA, Ogechi Ogu in her address said the training became necessary following the End SARS protest.
According to her the organization had been giving trainings to police officers before but restrategized after the END SARS protest.
She disclosed that the objective of the training was to build trust and confidence in the police and the community and building partnership for the safety of the community.
Ogu explained that the training is in four phase which the Human rights training is the first part.
The other parts according to her includes; Alternative to violence training for youths from different Ogun Communities, Community engagement between the police and the communities and restorative justice training that involves the police, correctional officers, NDLEA, NBA, Civil defence and other security agencies in the State.
She said”This strategy is a fallout of the end SARS, when we started we focused on the institution of the police first and the State just talking about human right generally but with the events of the End SARS we knew we needed to change tactics and start building confidence and trust within the community.
“The essence is to train on Human right, that is the larger part of the training but we are particularizing on trust building and alternative to violence, so we are bringing together the police and the community they serve to build trust to discuss issues of human rights and to deal with issues of violence, proposing alternatives to violence and that particular component is targeting the youths.
“We equally have a community engagement were bring the police and Community, we have chosen a particular Community, we targeting about 150 people for persons covering the elders, men, women, the youths, equally the children, then some police officers, the target is to bring them together to talk about what the responsibilities of the police are and what are the concerns of the community and what is it that could be done to make for a harmonised relationship between the police and the people and bring synergy for the security and safety of the community, it is about building trust and confidence in the police and the community and building partnership for the safety of the community.
“For the youths we are targeting 35, infact we have them already, they started yesterday, the alternative to violence training for them, violence can never be the answer, violence brings abuse of human rights, violence can never be the answer, we are giving them a training on alternative to violence.
“We are not only training the youths, we are building a sustainable platform, for them to engage the police, so instead of being enemies with the police, they can now see that the police is their friends.
“We made it that most of the youths in the training are selected by the police
“We have another component that is about training the police on human right and that one has 35 high cadre officers involved, we are talking about human right, what is human right , issues of use of force.
“The other component involves police officers, correctional officers, the judiciary, the Ministry of Justice, the NDLEA, the civil defence they come together and the target is on restorative justice, our laws now provide for restorative justice, the Nigerian correctional service and administration of criminal justice Act to put this in motion, the laws talks about having restorative justice at different including pre trial stage, not all cases need to go to court, those that can be settled will be settled in the police stations, of course the police have the discretion to charge to court or not but that will be within the law, part of what we would talking about is the legal frame work empowering the police to deal with this, they wouldn’t be doing this alone, we need the correctional officers who have also be given the mandate to supervise offenders within the community.
“We will be equally having the NBA because without lawyers in place, defence lawyers it will be an issue because some of them will go back to talk to their clients and won’t be following what is used to settle matters at that stage”.
While declaring the training open, the Ogun state Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole revealed that Nigerian Police has the best mechanism to deal with officers who violate human rights of members of the public.
Bankole however called on his officers to carry out their duties according to the dictates of the law.
His words “It is very very relevant, I must say that it is an opportunity for officers to be well equipped in the area of human right, you will recall that that is one area the Nigerian police are being accused, this is an opportunity to train our officers to ensure that they are well equipped in the issue of human right
“In this workshop the officers will have benefitted immersly and increase their performance in delivering quality service to the members of the public.
“As you can see this is one of the strategies, we have to train and retrain our officers in that regards, we also ensure that issues of abuses that are known to us are dealt with dispatch to ensure those things does not happen again.
“They have to carry out their duties in consonance with provisions of the law and extant regulations, I can tell you that Nigerian police has the best mechanism in dealing with any member of the force when the needs arise and the message is clear perform your duties according to the dictates of the law.”
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