Nigeria police want to interrogate rights leader

Apr 16, 2012, 10:24 AM

Associated Press

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) – Nigeria’s federal police want to interrogate the leader of the nation’s human rights commission over comments he made about officers carrying out so-called “extrajudicial” killings in the country, a practice widely documented by activists, his lawyer said Monday.

Activists in Nigeria warn the demand to question Chidi Anselm Odinkalu could have a chilling effect in Nigeria, a young democracy where authorities still use security agencies to suppress dissent.

Odinkalu, the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, received a written request from investigators at police headquarters in Nigeria’s capital Abuja to appear for questioning, lawyer Bamidele Aturu said. The request comes from a talk Odinkalu gave March 5 in which he said that the police force “executes well over 2,500 detainees summarily every year,” Aturu said.

Police had asked Odinkalu to appear Monday, but Aturu said the human rights commission chairman had a medical appointment previously scheduled. Aturu said he and others had been trying to reach police to reschedule the interrogation, but had been unable to reach the officers involved.

“There is no way he would honor the appointment at the expense and at the risk of his health,” Aturu said Monday.

Olusola Amore, a federal police spokesman, said Monday that he had no information about the interrogation request and declined to comment.

The killing of arrestees by police officers in Nigeria remains an open secret in this country of more than 160 million people. Studies by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly documented cases of underpaid and undertrained officers killing suspects with impunity. The police use euphemisms for the slayings, saying the suspects would be “escorted,” sent out on an “errand” or “transferred to” Nigeria’s capital Abuja, the reports claim.

Mohammed D. Abubakar, who took over as police inspector general in January, gave a speech in February in which he said that “justice has been perverted, people’s rights denied, innocent souls committed to prison, torture and extra-judicial killings perpetrated.”

It’s unclear why police now want to speak with Odinkalu, who heads the federal human rights agency. In a statement, Amnesty International condemned what it described as the “police intimidation” Odinkalu faces.

“The police ought to be spending their time and energy investigating allegations of extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and torture committed by their officers, rather than harassing the National Human Rights Commission,” said Erwin van der Borght, Amnesty’s Africa director.

___

Online:

Nigeria Human Rights Commission:
http://www.nigeriarights.gov.ng/

Nigeria Police Force:
http://www.npf.gov.ng/npf/

___

Jon Gambrell can be reached at
http://www.twitter.com/jongambrellap.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BoF VOICES)...
Associated Press

Vivienne Westwood, influential fashion maverick, dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood, an influential fashion maverick who played a key role in the punk movement, died Thursday at 81.
1 month ago
FILE - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during his first Cabinet meeting flanked by his ...
Associated Press

Rishi Sunak: UK’s ex-Treasury chief gets his shot at PM job

LONDON (AP) — Rishi Sunak ran for Britain’s top job and lost. Then he got another shot — and the chance to say “I told you so.” The former U.K. Treasury chief was runner-up to Liz Truss in the contest to replace the scandal-plagued Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and prime minister. But Truss […]
3 months ago
Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss addresses the media in Downing Street in London, Thursday, Oct. ...
Associated Press

Truss quits, but UK’s political and economic turmoil persist

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Liz Truss quit Thursday after a tumultuous and historically brief term marred by economic policies that roiled financial markets and a rebellion in her political party that obliterated her authority. After just 45 days in office, Truss became the third Conservative prime minister to be toppled in as many […]
4 months ago
People receive medical treatment at the scene of Russian shelling, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 1...
Associated Press

Russia unleashes biggest attacks in Ukraine in months

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia retaliated Monday for an attack on a critical bridge by unleashing its most widespread strikes against Ukraine in months, a lethal barrage that smashed civilian targets, knocked out power and water, shattered buildings and killed at least 14 people. Ukraine’s Emergency Service said nearly 100 people were wounded in the […]
4 months ago
This illustration made available by Johns Hopkins APL and NASA depicts NASA's DART probe, upper rig...
Associated Press

NASA spacecraft smashes into asteroid for defense test

A NASA spacecraft rammed an asteroid at blistering speed Monday in an unprecedented dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces Earth.
4 months ago
Associated Press

At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman’s death spread

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters angry over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody have killed at least nine people since the violence erupted over the weekend, according to a tally Thursday by The Associated Press. The scope of Iran’s ongoing unrest, the worst in […]
5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Nigeria police want to interrogate rights leader