Nigeria’s Inspector general of police Mohammed Adamu on Sunday banned personnel of the police from indiscriminate searching of mobile phones and laptops.
“All Tactical Squads must also desist from the invasion of the privacy of citizens particularly through indiscriminate and unauthorized search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices,” Adamu said in a statement.
The IGP also banned police officers from wearing mufti uniforms in any part of the country.
“Henceforth, no Police personnel is authorized to embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti. All Police Force personnel must always appear in their police uniforms or approved tactical gear,” Adamu said.
Often tagged ‘stop and search’, hundreds of Nigerian youths have fallen victim to extortion and forcefully making self-indicting statements by personnel of Nigeria police.
These stop and search of phones and computers have led to the extra-judicial killing, extortion, illegal arrest and harassment of youths.
In November 2019, leaders in Nigeria’s tech industry launched a campaign for survivors of attacks by Nigeria police officers on young tech entrepreneurs and workers for the commencement of legal proceedings.
The #StopRobbingUs campaign was launched in September 2019, seeking an end to the practice of unlawful arrest, attack, kidnap and forcible withdrawal of funds from young people with laptops or any electronic gadget by officers of the Nigerian police.
Amnesty International said in a 2016 report that victims of SARS brutality “are subjected to various methods of torture and ill-treatment in order to extract information and ‘confessions’.”
Although the Nigeria police say such acts contradict its responsibility to protect citizens and always issue sanctions to officers these cases of police brutality persist.
Adamu, however, appealed to Nigerians to report erring officers to the Police Complaint Response Unit (PCRU).
He said, “the PCRU will also continue to be available to receive and investigate complaints against Police Officers, for appropriate action. Citizens are encouraged to make available full details of incidents to the Unit, using any of their contact details” on social media.
– The Guardian