The Nigerian army has launched an investigation into the killing and assault on its personnel by officers of the Nigeria Police Force.
In a letter dated November 23, 2021, to all formations and units, the Chief of Army Staff called on military officers to “forward all recorded incidence of police brutality against personnel of the Nigerian Army.”
The letter, seen by SaharaReporters was signed by Major General J. A. Ataguba titled, ‘Evaluating Incidences Of Police Brutality Against Personnel Of Nigerian Army.’
It is also mandated to evaluate and present evidence surrounding the circumstances and draw conclusions as to the validity of the complaints raised.
The letter read, “The NA is constitutionally tasked to provide aid to civil authorities when called upon. This responsibility has occasioned conducting joint activities with members of the civil and paramilitary organizations. These joint operations with other security agencies particularly the Nigerian Police (NP) create occasions for the police to equate its hierarchy with the NA and this has often led to friction, especially at the lower levels.
“This friction has occasionally led to bodily harm and in some cases death to our troops. This is in spite of the fact that the victims have been identified and established to be serving personnel.
“This Dept is therefore conducting an evaluation of these occurrences with a view to establishing the frequency and recommend possible remedial measures to stem the tide. Consequently, all NA corps, formations and establishments are please requested to forward all recorded incidence of police brutality against personnel of the NA.
“The report should cover the last 2 years. Returns to reach this NLT 8 December 21 and should be forwarded using enclosed formal.”
The letter from the army is particularly curious seeing as police brutality is was responsible for sparking the #EndSARS protest in which soldiers, working with policemen and other security agencies, were alleged to have killed unarmed protesters last year.
Youths had taken to the streets to protest against extrajudicial killings and brutality by the police, especially by a unit of the police known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Despite pledges to disband the unit, the federal government has been accused of paying lip service to the call as incidences of police brutality abound.