Falana seeks stiffer sanction against extra-judicial killings

Falana-CopyHUMAN rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has decried the increasing spate of extra-judicial killings and torture by armed state personnel in the country, especially men of the Nigeria Police and urged stiffer and more deterrent sanctions capable of reducing the menace.

Mr Falana who noted with sadness that the various sanctions available in the country have not adequately addressed extra-judicial killings, called for sanctions directly targeted at armed personnel involved in such killings.

Falana spoke with The Guardian in Lagos on the heel of an alleged killing of a star tennis player, Beauty Macleod by a policeman in Lagos last week.

The tennis player’s murder came barely two weeks after the gruesome killing of a commercial bus driver, Olumide Likinyo, in Sagamu, Ogun State by a policeman, Abdullahi Yahaya and the murder of Emmanuel Orimisan in Ajah area of Lagos over which six policemen are being investigated for extra-judicial killing.

The senior lawyer particularly advocated for an anti-convict sanction regime where law enforcement personnel found guilty of extra-judicial killings, would be made to bear part of if not the whole compensation awarded by courts.

Falana who spoke with is further of the view that where the salaries or terminal entitlements of affected personnel could cover the financial relief awarded by the court, convicts should me made to bear the whole cost.

The former West Africa Bar Association (WABA) president said when armed personnel are aware of the fact that they are going to lose their gratuities to pay for extra-judicial killings, they would be more circumspect in misusing their arms.

The human rights lawyer decried the current practice where government is solely responsible for judgment-debts and compensations to victims of extra-judicial killings and maltreatment from erring cops.

The former WABA president noted that the society suffers multiple losses when the state is made to bear the financial cost of judgments arising from reckless use of arms by enforcement personnel.

According to the lawyer, “the country could only ill- afford this because apart from the fact that it damages her image before the international community, it is a systematic liquidation of our human resources.”

He is also of the view that making government to pay is another way of misallocating and misapplying public funds, which could have been deployed for use in some critical areas of needs of the public.

He recalled the recent cries by the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase that the Police is burdened by judgment-debts running into several millions of Naira.

The rights campaigner, said the senseless murder of hapless and innocent Nigerians by police personnel in particular and other law officers requires that government should declare a state of emergency over the incidence for more radical solutions to be sought and applied.

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