Nigeria Police Chief Decries Police Corruption, Abuses

Posted February 14th, 2012 at 12:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Nigeria's new police chief has said that members of the force routinely commit extra-judicial killings, jail innocent people, and demand bribes.

During a speech Monday in Abuja, the acting inspector general of police, Mohammed Abubakar, said the police force had “fallen to its lowest level.”

The new chief said police anti-robbery squads have become “killing teams” and innocent people are being held in prison because they could not afford to pay illegal bail money. He ordered the release of those being illegally held, and for the dismantling of road blocks, which many Nigerians view as bribe collection points.

Speaking to a group of police and security officials, Abubakar promised radical changes to address misconduct and restore the public's confidence in the force.

President Goodluck Jonathan appointed Abubakar last month after forcing the previous police chief and his top deputies to retire.

The president has come under intense pressure to stop attacks by radical Islamic sect Boko Haram.

On Tuesday, two bombs exploded in the northern city of Kaduna, killing a bomb squad member as he tried to defuse one of the devices. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosions.

Boko Haram claimed responsibility for similar attacks in Kaduna earlier this month.

The group is blamed for dozens of hundreds of deaths in bombings and shootings over the past 18 months, mostly in northern Nigeria. The shadowy group has said it wants to impose a strict form of Islamic law across the country.