Musiliu Smith, former inspector-general of police and chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), says complaints of gross misconduct against the police will reduce if guilty officers are punished.
Smith said this during the opening of a one-day retreat organised by the force in collaboration with the PSC for members of the police management team in Abuja, on Tuesday.
The #EndSARS protest which rocked the country in October 2020 was a demonstration against police brutality and human rights abuses.
During the protest, the demonstrators demanded the dissolution of the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS); justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensations for their families, and setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reported police misconduct within a period of 10 days.
Following the #EndSARS protests, state governors were directed by the National Economic Council (NEC) to establish judicial panels across the country in a move to deliver justice for all victims of the disbanded SARS and other police units.
The PSC chairman described complaints of gross misconduct against police officers as “alarming”, adding that going by the number of cases against its personnel, the force might be unable “to pay damages awarded by the various panels of inquiry”.
He called for a review of how complaints and cases against police officers are investigated and handled, adding that whoever is found culpable must be made to face the wrath of the law.
“We’re always having a lot of complaints from members of the public against police officers. I believe that #EndSARS resulted from serious misconduct of some of our personnel,” Smith said.
“I want to advise that we review the arrangements we’re making for investigating such cases. We should ensure that investigations are thoroughly conducted and whoever is the police officer that has been indicted will be punished according to the law.
“If we are doing that, some of the public complaints will go down.”
The PSC chairman also asked Mohammed Adamu, inspector-general of police, to work closely with the commission on the recruitment of “credible Nigerians into the force”.