President Muhammadu Buhari has cautioned officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force against harassing young people in their bid to arrest `yahoo criminals.’
Buhari handed down this warning in his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Conference and Retreat for Senior Police Officers on Monday in Lagos.
Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Buhari said that the service the police force rendered was one Nigerians could not do without as it was the closest to the grassroots.
“Which is why the police cannot escape public scrutiny and sometimes criticism; Nigerian people old and young want our Police force to be better and to do better; they want to be even prouder of your service than ever before.
“This is why in some of our urban areas we want to see more compliance with the rule of law and in dealing with Nigerians.
“Recently many civil society groups have complained about the arrest of young men and women just because they look successful and are carrying laptops.
“Yes we must apprehend yahoo criminals but we cannot harass young men and women on the streets and in taxis most of whom are merely going about their legitimate businesses.
“There are also cases of extra judicial killings and injuries; misuse of weapons and excessive use of force by some members of the force.
“This sort of conduct by a few bad police officers must stop; and it is the duty of you senior and strategic leaders of the Police force to ensure that impunity of any kind is discouraged and punished where it is found,” he said.
Buhari said that the Nigeria Police force was one of the proudest National assets as it was the largest police force in Africa and had served everywhere locally and internationally with outstanding results.
“The Nigeria police force led police peace keeping activities in Congo, Namibia,Angola,Western Sahara,Somalia , Liberia, Sierra Leone, Bosnia Herzegovina , Croatia, Afghanistan, Kosovo, East Timor.
“Locally in the past one year alone the Nigeria police has between January and this month arrested over ;2,348 Armed Robbery suspects – 1,412 Suspected kidnappers 694 Murder Suspects, 1,513 Cultists safely rescued 826 Kidnap victims, recovered-1,660 firearms and 1612 vehicles.
“In the course of duty so many have paid the supreme price; while fighting off robbers, kidnappers and other criminals many have been maimed for life,” he said.
He said that special trainings were being organised for the Special Units of the Police including the Police Mobile Force, Special Forces, Counter-Terrorism Unit, Anti-Robbery detachments, Anti-Kidnapping Squads and the Criminal Investigation.