A Federal Capital Territory High Court on Thursday found two police
officers, Ezekiel Acheneje and Baba Emmanuel, guilty of extra judicial
killing of six traders in 2005.
The court presided over by Justice Ishaq Bello convicted the two
police officers to death for culpable homicide. Although, the two
officers claimed they were ordered to carry out the killing by
superior officer Danjuma Ibrahim, who was then a deputy Commissioner
of Police, the court however freed Danjuma and two others due to lack
of evidence against them.
We at the Foundation for Peace Professionals welcome this judgment
with open arm, even though we feel bad about the prospect of losing
two fellow human beings. We do not want anyone being killed, but when
police officers, saddled with the responsibility to protect, assault,
violate and extra-judicially kill defenseless citizens, nothing can be
expected as judgment, other than serving them back in like sum.
On regular basis, we hear of police assault and brutality against
defenseless citizens, we also read of extra- judicial killings,
torture and other illegal activities being carried out by the police,
but officers must understand that being a police is not a license to
violate others and commit crime.
What we desire is a peaceful and violation free police force, in which
officers treat citizens with high regard, taking into account their
rights and responsibility and we hope that this judgment will serve as
a lesson to all officers.
From this judgment, it should be clear to all police officers that
they are not above the law. It should also be clear that the
fundamental human rights of all citizens cannot be violated without
consequences. If officers’ act beyond their lawful authority as
contained in the police act, the law will catch up with them, no
matter how long.
The law doesn’t permit officers to carry out unlawful orders, even if
it is ordered by the Inspector General of police. More importantly,
the law forbade officers from violating basic rights of citizens, no
matter how much they are provoked.
As seen clearly in this judgment, each officer will be held
accountable to their own deeds, irrespective of who ordered it. To be
on the safe side, officers must learn to reject unlawful orders made
by their superiors, because if they are dragged before the law, only
those who carried out such unlawful orders will face the music.
We therefore call on all Police Officers to learn to act responsibly
and within the ambit of law, while carrying out their duties of
enforcing the law.
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