REMARKS BY IGP MOHAMMED A. ADAMU, NPM, mni AT THE CONFERENCE OF NIGERIA POLICE LAWYERS HELD AT THE FORCE HEADQUATERS, ABUJA ON 9TH JANUARY, 2019
I am delighted to welcome you all to this meeting which was convened with the objective of interfacing with all the lawyers across all ranks in the Nigeria Police. This is with a view to discussing and fashioning out ways to maximally utilise the broad pool of qualified and sound body of legal minds in the Nigeria Police towards advancing the attainment of our leadership goals.
The Nigeria Police prides itself as one of the public institutions with the highest number of lawyers in the country. It is indeed, on record that some of these lawyers have successfully prosecuted landmark cases some of which have become references in legal practice in the country, while several others have deepened their knowledge of the law up to Doctorate level. Some of these bright legal assets of the Nigeria Police are here seated in our midst today.
Unfortunately, in spite of this organisational advantage, we have over the years been underutilising the capacity of our lawyers. The time has now come for us to alter this narrative. This is more so that the new orientation envisioned for the Police under our leadership is that which is driven by respect for rule of law and professional proficiency in the investigative and prosecution functions of the Nigeria Police. The achievement of these, require that the Legal Department of the Nigeria Police be re-organised, refocused, and empowered to effectively lead the process. It is in cognisance of this that this meeting was conceptualised.
The Commissioner of Police in-charge of the legal Department has been briefing me constantly on the state of affairs of the Department and I have taken due cognisance of all the challenges and plans he has highlighted in his opening remarks. I can assure that the Legal department will, henceforth be prioritised in my leadership scheme and the welfare of lawyers in the Nigeria Police as well as funding concerns which have been demotivating factors in their activities shall be addressed henceforth.
My idea is to have a Police force that embodies the values of fairness, justice and equity. This is informed by the reality that policing activities in a democratic society require accountability which is indeed demanded for by an increasingly enlightened and diverse citizenry.
In this regard, it remains the responsibility of police lawyers to guide investigators in the gathering, preservation and presentation of evidence as well as ensuring respect for the rights of persons who become the subject of police preventive and investigative procedures, be they suspects or witnesses of crime.
Much as actions have been taken to address the issues underlying civil actions and awards against the Police, there is the need to strengthen our Legal Department both in terms of structure, manpower and processes to position them in addressing this major challenge.
Given the institutional challenges the police as a key player in the criminal justice sector faces, reinvigorating the capacity of Police Lawyers by creating a unique platform where they can network and deepen their knowledge and skills has also become imperative, especially in the light of the passage of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
In due appreciation of these realities, my plan is to re-invigorate and emplace a legal section that ensures a pride of place for Police lawyers, a Legal section that is the envy of every police lawyer, and a legal section where Police lawyers are eager and desirous to work. I therefore urge you to make the best of this opportunity by actively supporting us in attaining our plans and demonstrate the determination to act as change agents that will alter the professional fortune of the Nigeria Police Legal Section.
It is on this note that I welcome you all to this landmark engagement and I wish you all rewarding deliberations. I thank you and pray for Allah's (SWT) guidance on you all as we jointly march towards evolving a Police Force that will be driven by rule of law tenets and motivated to excel in its criminal justice delivery Mandate.