Groups Decry Security Personnel’s Brutality, Extortion Of Citizens | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Groups Decry Security Personnel’s Brutality, Extortion Of Citizens

Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, Ramadan
Posted: Jul 16, 2016 at 4:20 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)



Some civil society organisations in Bayelsa State have decried the increasing cases of brutality and extortion of residents by security operatives in the state.

The civil society groups comprising  the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Bayelsa Non-Governmental Organisations Forum (BANGOF) and the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) spoke at a joint press conference in Yenagoa on Friday.

Robinson Kuroghobogha, chairman of BANGOF, who read the statement of the groups, said that human rights violation in Bayelsa was on “a geometric increase”.

Robinson who was flanked by Nengi James, CLO chairman, Dise Ogbise-Erhisere, FIDA chairman, Alagoa Morris, former CLO secretary, among other officials, asserted that men of the armed forces and other security agencies, especially the police force, only have the mandate to provide security for citizens and not to harass and intimidate them.

He cited the recent brutal assaults on Tonye Yemoleigha, a reporter with Radio Bayelsa by an Air Force  operative, and Philomena Briggs, a student, by five policemen, as some examples too many.

“It has come to the notice of the civil society that the rate of assault, harassment, intimidation and unlawful extortion of law-abiding citizens in Yenagoa by armed security personnel has been on a geometric  increase.

“Several cases of brutality by armed (security)  personnel have been reported to various institutions with no tangible response from them.

“The case of Mr. Tonye Yemoleigha, a journalist with the Bayelsa State Broadcasting Corporation who was brutally assaulted by Air Force personnel on the 18 May and that of Mrs. Philomena Briggs, a student, reportedly assaulted by five armed policemen are recent examples of the level of impunity of armed personnel in the state,”Robinson said.

He stated that acts of brutality on residents by the security operatives were a violation of their fundamental human  rights guaranteed in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human  and People’s Rights.

“The human rights community and indeed all law-abiding citizens of Bayelsa are seriously concerned with the excessive conduct of armed security personnel.

“The protection of lives and property and ensuring the rights of law-abiding citizens are not violated are the primary functions of the police.

“Therefore, policemen acting with impunity and violating the fundamental rights of law-abiding citizens is a deliberate call to chaos and anarchy and no sane society will approve of that”, he stated.

The civil society groups urged heads of security agencies to take appropriate steps to reduce to the barest minimum incidences of officers’ misconduct and brutal assaults on innocent people.

They also demanded compensation from the security agencies to  all victims of recent  assaults that had been reported to their offices.