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Bolanle Raheem: NGO advocates regular drug, mental screening for police officers 

Adopt a Goal for Development Initiative, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), has advocated regular drug and mental health screening for police officers to ascertain their level of drug usage and state of mental health.

The NGO, in a statement in Abuja by Abiola Dare Ariyo-Atoye, said the brutal killing of Bolanle Raheem by a police officer, who should be her friend, was avoidable, unnecessary and unjustifiable.

Mrs Raheem, a lawyer by profession, was reportedly murdered by an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Drambi Vandi, on December 25, while on a Christmas outing with her husband, son and other family members, including four other minors.

The organisation in a statement titled “Bolanle Raheem: Another Innocent Nigerian Brutally Killed by her “Friend”, the Police”, said it was the Constitutional “obligation of state authorities including the police to respect and protect the life and property of every Nigerian and not to take it indiscriminately.

“The Nigeria Police Force should collaborate with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other relevant authorities to conduct quarterly screening exercises for every rank and file to check their level of drug use and mental health condition,” it said.

The NGO said the murder was unequivocally condemnable, describing it as “unprovoked and barbaric murder of yet another innocent Nigerian” and sent “heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased”.

“We demand justice for the brutal murder of Raheem, a wife, mother of a young boy, an only child of an aged parent, and pregnant with a child,” it added.

The NGO also called for re-orientation of police personnel on respect for basic human rights.

It said the international standards governing how and when the police could use force or firearms negated unlawful use of force, which was a threat to life, liberty, security and equal protection under the law.

“We demand holistic police reform, including re-orientation on basic human rights and handling/use of weapons and improved welfare packages for all ranks and files, among others,” the NGO added. 

It said as we approach a new year, 2023, the authorities, including the Nigeria Police Force, must consciously and intentionally end police brutality and harassment of innocent Nigerians.

“That’s the best New Year Resolution and gift they can and must give all Nigerians. The Adopt A Goal for Development Initiative is ready to work with all the relevant partners to end all forms of police abuses,” it said.

The organisation said that the barbaric killing of Mrs Raheem was yet a sad reminder of the several unprovoked killings of innocent Nigerians over the years by personnel of the police, who were paid to protect the lives and property of their victims.

“The deceased was murdered in a cold blood in the presence of her husband, son, including four other minors, and other close family members and the Nigeria Police Force must, therefore, show accountability for this death and several others,” the NGO said.

The organisation recalled that the bottled up frustrations of Nigerians got to a tipping point in 2020 with the protests against SARS, leading to loss of lives and property yet to be accounted for in spite of several Commissions of Inquiry constituted by the government.

It expressed concerns President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise on the reform of the police was yet to come to fruition as several innocent Nigerians were still being unjustly killed by personnel of the Nigerian Police Force since then.

The NGO said It regretted “the continued lip services, which those in authority, sadly, have paid to this protracted cankerworm plaguing the nation’s policing system”.

(NAN)

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