The Nigerian Police Force’s Complaints Response Unit has received 14,976 complaints lodged with the police since its inception, PUNCH found.
The unit, which was set up in 2015 to receive complaints from citizens about police misconduct, revealed in a report received by our correspondent on Tuesday that more than 11 567 complaints had been resolved, with more than 258 police officers being punished.
It noted that 31 police officers had been fired and eight others were being formally charged.
The unit added N55.6m received and returned to its owners between 2015 and 2021.
In 2021 alone, the unit claimed to have received 1,244 complaints from police across the country.
He said of the 876 grievances that had been resolved, 351 were still being investigated and 25 of them were found to be false.
The unit also noted that in 2021, the Lagos State Police Command recorded the highest number of cases with 327 complaints, followed by the Federal Capital Territory Command with 210 cases. Delta State Command recorded 85 complaints while Rivers State Command was ranked fourth with 80 complaints.
The document read in part, “The orders / structures with the highest levels of professional misconduct in Nigeria are the provincial capital of Rivers State with 16 cases; Federal Headquarters (15); Disposal FHQ (15); FCT directive (13); Ikeja in Lagos (9); Alagbon in Lagos (5) Maitama Division at FCT (4); Kubwa Division at FCT (4); FESTAC Division in Lagos State (4) and Chouba Area Command in Rivers State (4).
“The headquarters of Rivers State Command has filed a series of high-profile bail cases, while four groups accused of seeking bail have been recorded in Rivers State. This highlights the need for leadership review in these structures.
The Rivers State Command headquarters reported overuse of complaints throughout the country, followed by the Meiran Division and the country’s headquarters, Lagos, and then the FCT. ”
The Director-General of the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Center, Okechukwu Nwanguma, praised the unit, adding that the report would help the police take the necessary steps to clean up the force.
He said, “Firstly, it will be the first time that CRU has published and presented its quarterly report to the public. It is a testament to the transparency and accountability of the CRU under its current leadership.
You could see that Rivers State has a high number of complaints. This should send a message to Rivers State police officials to look inside and deal with this horrible record.
“In districts with low recorded numbers, it is also important to determine whether this is an indication of low levels of police misconduct in those provinces, or a low level of CRU awareness or lack of information on how to report complaints. ”