Victor Oluwasegun, Abuja
SPEAKER of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila has said that the House would not accept extra-judicial killings, harassment, intimidation or any other form of violence unleashed on innocent citizens by policemen.
The Speaker described as unfortunate a situation where some policemen, saddled with the constitutional responsibility of protecting life and property, turn against the citizens.
Gbajabiamila while declaring open a public hearing by the House Committee on Police Affairs chaired by Rep Usman Bello Kumo, bemoaned the recent alleged extra -judicial killing of footballer Tiamiyu Kazeem in Sagamu, Ogun State.
He said, ”More than any other institution of the state, it is the police force that relates to the citizens daily. In many communities across Nigeria, the police force is the only representative of the Nigerian state, and the connection between our citizens and the state is often defined by their interactions with the police.
“It is unfortunate and entirely unacceptable that the relationship between the police and many of these communities is now defined by fear, mutual antagonism and an absolute loss of faith in the ability of the police to protect and to serve.
“In the last few days, we have all witnessed as the city of Sagamu in Ogun State has been unsettled by an orgy of violence resulting from the extrajudicial killing of a young footballer by officers of the Nigerian police.
“Citizens who gathered to protest this killing were soon themselves at the receiving end of police bullets. This is not an isolated incident. We are daily inundated with news reports of interactions between citizens and the police resulting in the injury and death of those citizens.
“Reports of police harassment of young people have become so rampant that they barely even break through the news cycle except when public anger becomes so great that it results in a breakdown of law and order.”