The Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to curb the excesses of officers of the State Criminal Investigative Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba in Lagos.
The organization accused the department of using underhand tactics to extort money from Nigerians struggling to cope with the economy.
In a statement, CHRSJ Chairman, Adeniyi Sulaiman, complained that the “wicked” act worsened after the End SARS protest.
Sulaiman said it was high time the authorities beamed their search lights on Panti operations before the oppressed revolt.
The activist lamented that instead of turning a new leaf, Panti operatives are becoming more daring and uncontrollable by the day.
CHRSJ said they move around their area of operation to collate phone numbers of residents, lure them to their offices and present different kinds of allegations.
“The leadership of the department usually dispatch their operatives out to source for numbers. They will call them on the Truecaller platform to be able to know their names.
“They will then generate spurious petitions, which would be written by some faceless individuals. This would form the basis for the invitation of the innocent citizens.”
The group added that those invited would be asked to wait endlessly without seeing the petition against them or those making complaints.
“The police officers would ask for some specific amount to be paid before release. They demand from N150,000 upward, depending on the status of the so-called accused.
“There are so many innocent people languishing in the cells of the department, we want the authorities to look at,” the group stated.
Sulaiman expressed regret that the issue, recorded since the tenure of former officer-in-charge DCP Yetunde Longe, had deteriorated under DCP Fayoade Adegoke.
In January, Adegoke took over from Longe, who was deployed as the officer-in-charge of DFA, Zone 2 Command (Lagos and Ogun States).
CHRSJ called on Lagos Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General, Moyosore Onigbanjo, to probe Panti with his powers enshrined in the Administration of Criminal
Justice (ACJ) as contained in the Lagos Law 2015.
The group also urged the Police Service Commission (PSC), the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Commissioner of Police in Lagos to investigate the SCID.
The statement insisted that the antics and procedures used in Panti violate several local and international laws.
CHRSJ listed the ACJ, Criminal Code CAP C38 of Laws of Federation, EFCC Act with Cases & Materials, ICPC & Money Laundering Act, Police Act, Robbery and Firearms Act, Prisoners’ Reform & Coronas Law Regulations, Law Enforcement & Human Rights in Nigeria Law, Terrorism Act, Police College & Training Regulation Act, Law of Evidence Act.
Others are the NHRC Act, FOI Act, Criminal Procedure Act (CPA), Universal Declaration on Human Rights Law, United Nations Covenant on Human Rights Law, Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), African Unity Convention’s Act, United Nations / African Charter on Human Rights, and the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended).
Muyiwa Adejobi, Lagos Command Public Relations Officer, did not take calls at press time.