Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Building Model Police Stations and its linkages to PSVW: Nigeria’s Experience

By Blessing Abiri

Introduction
Like many other countries in Africa, police reforms has been on –going  in Nigeria with the introduction of various forms of reform  programs and initiatives.

Much of these reforms have focused on macro and national level issues such as structural, institutional, legal and policy framework for the police. 

However police stations being the basic unit for police service delivery, are also the main point of contact between citizens and the police.  

So citizens’ opinions and willingness to engage with the police is often influenced greatly by treatment they receive when they use police stations.

It therefore becomes imperative that to change peoples’ perceptions and experiences about the police, the reforms initiatives  needs to concentrate at the local police station level.

One way by which efforts have been made to introduce reforms at the police station level is through the DFID funded Justice For All(J4A) programme pilot project focused on remodeling police stations in terms of building structure, facilities, strategies, processes and range of services offered to improve not only the police services and accountability at the station level but also contribute to enhancing police image as an effective and efficient institution and citizen willingness to cooperate with the police .

Model Police Station in Nigeria

The J4A model police station program began in August 2011 at the Isokoko police station, the MPS pilot site. The specific objectives include:

- provide support to deliver effective 'reactive and proactive' policing services

- develop and implement an integrated model of initiatives – community policing, community safety, Neigbourhood policing and crime prevention

- develop family support unit to handle crimes against women, children and other vulnerable groups

- re-engineer structures, systems and processes that which support more effective service delivery, accountability and protection of human rights at the police station e.g reorganization of the front office to provide a more conducive environment

- facilitate replication of the model police station procedures, structures and systems in other police stations across Nigeria

Results in Isokoko so far

- There is a general change in police and citizen behaviour, thinking and actions

- Improved planning processes leading to a more focused, effective and efficient delivery of services  e.g crime and incident mapping by the DIO.

- FSU established with well trained police personnel to deal with cases in more professional and sensitive manner

- More police/community consultation on priority safety and security needs – eg local policing plan; police/VPS collaboration

- better record keeping and documentation processes – new registers; minutes taking etc

- adoption of the integrated community safety model set up of the Agege Community Safety Initiative

- better citizens satisfaction with the policing services and improved capacity of the police to respond and resolve crime –75% level of satisfaction with police response to reported incidents

- a fall in crime reporting rate - a fall of 33% -1587 (2011) to 1062 (2012)

- introduction of other services – Free legal advice scheme for suspects; SARC

- Replication and scale up of MPS

What are linkages between MPS and PSVW?

Goal of the J4A model police stations

 - assist the NPF deliver “more effective and accountable policing services”. More specially, it is intended to increase the willingness of the public to report crimes to the police and enhance the capacity of the police to respond to reports and investigate crimes effectively
- The intervention has become all the more important in the light of the security challenges in the country which has made the police a target of attack
- Strategic focus of MPS
considers and addresses salient issues relating to architectural designs, physical buildings, availability of facilities, strategies and processes  that impact on police service delivery, accountability, and protection of human rights
- This is clearly in line with the fundamentals upon which the PSVW indicators are based.

Community orientation
Adequate information on where to report crimes/access public services e.g FSU, Free Legal Advice

Physical condition
Restructuring of the front office to create more space to receive visitors and make it more conducive; provision of furniture and equipment, painting of the front office etc

Equal treatment of the Public
- police can demonstrate their commitment to equal treatment of the public by their sensitivity to vulnerable groups. The FSU was designed to address issues involving vulnerable groups and personnel trained;

- Isokoko is a home to numerous ethnic groups and nationals, the police station strives to ensure they all get fair and equal services

Transparency and accountability

- The crime and incident mapping system provides information on trends and patterns of crime in the
isokoko area and also determine impact of police efforts

 - the local policing plan developed by the Divisional Police officer reflects the citizen key priorities upon which he is expected to give feedback.

Detention conditions
The conditions of detention must satisfy certain global Standards.

Guided by the international human rights standards, the legal advice scheme operative at the police station is ensure that suspects/detainees are treated in accordance with the law, rights of suspects are guaranteed and protected at all times.

While the MPS is new, CLEEN using the findings from the PSVW was able to assess the performance of the 3 police stations (Isokoko, Adeniji Adele and Ilupeju police stations) where model police stations interventions are been implemented.

It was helpful to also identify other replication sites for the MPS in the country.







Thursday, 15 August 2013

Victoria Island Police Station receives the Regional Award for the Best Police Station in Africa in the Altus Police Station Visitors’ Week 2012.





Victoria Island police station in Lagos, Nigeria has been ranked the top police station in Africa and emerged the regional winner of the Police Station Visitors Week 2012. The police station received this award at the just concluded Altus’ annual Global Award Ceremony which took place on 9th August, 2013 at the Laico Regency Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya. The Ceremony was organized by the Altus Global Alliance in collaboration with CLEEN Foundation and USALAMA FORUM, Kenya to honor the 5 winning stations in PSVW 2012, which had the highest overall scores in their region and share the examples of good practices globally. The event had in attendance participants from the various countries in the five continents that participated in the Police Station Visitors’ Week, 2012.
The Police Station Visitors Week 2012 organized by Altus Global Alliance is the sixth edition on a global scale and afforded civilians an opportunity to visit local police stations and to assess the services provided by police.


Harnessing the Power of Social Media in the Fight against Low level Corruption



By Idamwenhor Enayaba

The Nigeria Police on Tuesday 6th August announced via its Facebook page that the police officer attached to the Lagos State Command Motor Traffic Division (State MTD) caught on tape demanding bribe has been arrested and currently in detention awaiting the commencement of his orderly room trial (Nigeria Police version of court). This marks the achievement of another milestone using the social media. He was not only caught on tape but through the popularization of the video via social media, it has prompted the response of the Inspector General of Police.
While many Nigerians would chose to fraternize and socialize with this video, it is for me a great discovery that can be used to correct many of the ills in Nigeria. Weeks back was the case of a Nigeria judge in the Gambia and now, a police officer. With this same social media, Nigerians came out victorious at the end in July this year when some people with vested interests attempted to smuggle “child marriage” into the constitution through the ongoing constitutional review in the Senate. The promptness with which the NPF has responded and a stand taken on it, yet reechoes the feeling that lots of opportunities lie in the social media that most times we are not fully conscious of. However, Nigerians can take advantage of these tools to strengthen both public and private institutions accountability if gadgets like smart phones and various social media platforms are adequately and appropriately put to use. 
Nigeria is faced with a chronic and pervasive impunity virus that has practically infested every facets of live in Nigeria and one of these viruses is corruption. Corruption has practically brought Nigeria to its knees with majority currently in the vicious circle of struggle to survive. Despite the noise about fighting corruption and array of anticorruption agencies that abounds, corruption remains pervasive. Nigeria’s global Corruption Perception Index rating has continued on a shameful slide. However, social media presents an opportunity for the Nigerian public to become directly involve in the fight against corruption. Multimedia enabled phones and gadgets have functions that enable users to capture videos or pictures of people engaging in corruption. Some Non-Governmental-Organizations and Civil society Organizations/groups are already taking the lead in this respect. The CLEEN Foundation has a project running called stopthebribes. The online platform (www.stopthebribes.net) presents an all-encompassing approach to fighting low level corruption, especially among public officials. The project broadens the fight against low level corruption in Nigeria by using technology particularly social media platforms and smart phones which have become popular among the younger generation and also accessible to low income populace in the country. The organization in partnership with various civil society groups and government institutions uses an Ushahidi-based user-friendly ICT platform to monitor and report incidents of bribery, extortion or corruption by public officials that engage with members of the public on the streets, highways or in the course of other official engagements. The platform accepts information in picture, text, audio and video forms which provide evidence of incidents via diverse channels like mobile phones calls, text messages and emails or through direct entries on the website. Interface is also created between the platform and social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Blog, etc., so that messages from them can automatically be converted and integrated on the map showing hotspots where different incidences are taking place across Nigeria. The identity of members of the public using this platform is kept in strict confidentiality. As part of the partnership with the police, the Stopthebrides Corruption Incident Tracking Room (CITR) is also located in the IG’s secretariat and Force Intelligence Bureau. The reports generated from the platform are presently made part of the IG’s monthly briefing at the Force Headquarters.
Moving forward, the fight against corruption has started, the age of “sidon-look” is over; the time to act is now. Nigerians can no longer continue to wait on government alone. Corruption in Nigeria is as large as the Nigerian population and it will take the concerted effort of all through harnessing the potentials that abounds in the social media to strengthen accountability in Nigeria and reduce corruption to its barest minimum.




Monday, 5 August 2013

THIRD DISSEMINATION EVENT OF THE FINDINGS OF THE AFROBAROMETER ROUND 5 SURVEY IN NIGERIA



The Afrobarometer is a comparative series of public attitude surveys, covering up to 35 African
Countries in Round 5 (2011-2013). It measures public perception and attitude to democracy and its alternatives, and evaluates the quality of governance and economic performance. In addition, the survey assesses the views of the electorates on critical political issues in the surveyed countries and provides comparisons over time. Four rounds of surveys have been held from 1999 to 2008 and Round 5 is currently underway. Afrobarometer’s work in Nigeria is coordinated by the CLEEN Foundation. Fieldwork for Round 5 was conducted in Nigeria from 29th October to 30th November in 2012. The survey interviewed 2,400 adult Nigerians, and a sample of this size yields results with a margin of error of +/- 2% at a 95% confidence level.

POLITICAL AND DEMOCRATIC ATTITUDES IN NIGERIA

Finding 1: Most Nigerians, (80 percent) prefer the selection of leaders through regular, open and honest elections and only (20 percent) prefer other methods since elections sometimes produce bad results.
The Afrobarometer survey recently conducted in Nigeria revealed that a solid majority of the citizens (80percent) prefer the selection of leaders through regular, open and honest elections. Only (20percent) prefer the adoption of other methods of choosing leaders in the country since the elections sometimes produce bad results. The survey also revealed that a little over half of Nigerians (54percent) agree that Women should have the same chance of being elected to political office as men. However, a significant minority (46percent) believes that men make better political leaders than women, and should be elected rather than women. Another majority (68percent) said women should have equal rights and receive the same treatment as men do yet a minority is of the opinion that Women have always been subject to traditional laws and customs in the country, and should remain so.
Finding 2: Majority of Nigerians (55 percent), believe that the presence of more political parties in the country enhance real choices and (44 percent) has the opinion that more political parties create divisions and confusions.
The survey reveals that majority of the citizens (55percent) believe that many political parties are needed to make sure that Nigerians have real choice in who governs them and a large minority (44percent) believe that political parties create divisions and confusion; therefore it is unnecessary to have many political parties in the country.  The survey also revealed that Majority of Nigerians (60percent) believe that better cooperation between the opposition and the ruling patties would develop the country, and just (39percent) support the opposition parties to regularly examine and criticize government policies and actions, only (1perecent) said “don’t know”.

Finding 3: Nearly a half of Nigerians (47 percent), described democracy in the country as “democracy with major Problems”. However, (35 percent) have a contrary opinion that the democracy in the country is one “with minor problems”.
 It was also found that large minority of citizens (41percent) are not very satisfied with way democracy works in the country and (25percent) expressed high level of dissatisfaction, 28percent said they are fairly satisfied, (2percent) has the opinion that the country is not in an democracy and only (4percent) of the people are satisfied.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

National Security and the Freedom of Information in Nigeria: The Quest for Open Governance*


The discussions around National Security and Access to Information (or Freedom of Information) usually meets with a bit of tension depending and this does not have to be so. The first point of possible tension is trying to agree on a definition of national security. What is national security? Over the years, national security has been defined in different ways and has undergone fundamental changes since the end of the 2nd world war when the usage of the term became popular and lately since the end of the cold war in the last 2 decades. Waltrand Morales (1993) has argued that national securities has been defined by defence specialists as first from the narrow perspective as the protection of a nation’s people and territories from physical attack; and second the more extensive concept of the protection of political power to the fundamental values and vitality of the state.  National security in Nigeria is still construed through the narrow sense of it being aimed at the protection of the nation state, its people and political powers. 

Looking at the security architecture of the nation beginning from the extinct National Security Organisation  which was created by virtue of decree no 27 of 1976 by the military administration of General Olusegun Obasanjo after the aborted  Dimka coup which claimed the life of former head of state General Murtala Mohammed. The National Security Organisation was given the mandate of coordinating internal security, foreign intelligence and counter intelligence activities. It was also charged with the detection and prevention of crime against the security of the state, protection of classified materials and carrying out any other security missions assigned by the president. The Babangida administration redesigned the National Security Organisation and separated same into three divisions namely State Security Services, National Intelligence Agency and the Defence Intelligence Agency – each of them with different responsibilities as stated in the National Securities Agencies Act.  For example Sub section (1) provides for the duties of the Defence 

Intelligence Agency which are stated as follows:
(a)   Prevention and detection of crime of a military nature against the security of Nigeria;
(b)   The protection and preservation of all military classified matters concerning the security of Nigeria both within and outside Nigeria;
(c)    Such other responsibilities affecting defence intelligence of a military nature, both within and outside Nigeria, as the President or Chief of Defence Staff, as the case may be or may deem necessary;
Sub section (2) provides that the National Intelligence Agency shall be charged with the responsibility of (a) general maintenance of the security of Nigeria outside Nigeria, concerning matters that are not related to military issue; and
(b) such other responsibilities affecting national intelligence outside Nigeria as the National Defence Council or the President, as the case may be, may deem necessary;
Sub section (3) provides that the State Security Service shall be charged with responsibility for:
(a)   the prevention and detection within Nigeria of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria;
(b)   the protection and preservation of all non military classified matters concerning  the internal security of Nigeria; and
(c)    such other responsibilities affecting internal security within Nigeria as the National Assembly of the President, as the case maybe, may deem necessary

The National Defence Policy developed in June 2006 states that two factors made the publication of the document necessary – the first being the strategic realignment of the international security environment which followed the end of the Cold War while the second is Nigeria’s embrace of democratic governance after a long period of military rule.  The Policy further states that its content are taken from the country’s National Security Policy ‘which focuses on the preservation of the safety of Nigerians at home and abroad and the protection of the sovereignty of the country and the integrity of its assets’[1].

In a democratic regime the role of the police as one of the security sector actors cannot be swept under the carpet - therefore Section 4 of the Police Act provides for the general duties of the police as follows:
i. The Police shall be employed for the prevention and detection of crimes;
ii. The apprehension of offender;
iii. Protection of life and property;
iv. The due enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are directly charged;
v. Shall perform such military duties within or outside Nigeria as may be required of them by or under the authority of this or any other Act[2]
Section 25 of the Nigeria Police Regulations provides for the establishment of a Police Mobile Force, which is to be maintained as a police striking force in the event of riots or other serious disturbances occurring within the federation[3].
Other actors within the security sector framework in a contemporary democratic society also include the courts, prisons (for the purpose of Nigeria), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and civil society groups. These critical actors have a place in a defining, shaping and contributing to the security architecture of the country because the concept of national security has broadened since the end of the cold war beyond the narrow military conception to include human security which combines elements of defence, economic and basic human rights (Ball, Nicole & Fayemi, Kayode 2004)[4].
The FoIA provides a wide range of information that cannot be disclosed by public institutions and these ranges of exceptions are clearly stated in sections 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19.  Section 11(1) of the FoIA restricts disclosure of information that ‘may be injurious to the conduct of international affair and the defence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’. The FoIA like other legal instruments / policy instruments referred to earlier does not give a concise definition of  what constitutes 'national security' and therefore leaves the definition to discretion of whom is defining (depending on the person's school of thoughts).
It however provides the terms for consideration in granting the public access for release of the otherwise restricted information. For example, Section 12 (1) (v) provides that information which could constitute an invasion of personal privacy should not be released;  Section 15 of the Act states that an information can be disclosed where the interest of the public would be better served by having such record being made available. The ‘public interest’ exemption provides opportunity for disclosure of otherwise restricted information.
The insecurity situation in the country has made Nigerians more interested in issues relating to security. For example, it would not be strange to have citizens discussing budget allocation to security and law enforcement agencies, rules of engagement of security operatives in the northern part of the country, operational strategy or procedure of JTF and other security agencies, equipments purchased,  watch with keen interest parliamentary debates  or discussions in respect of Baga (or any similar situation) etc. This has become so topical that it has become focus of media, academic and NGO reports.   For example findings from the  Round 5 release of the Afro barometer survey showed that 69% of Nigerians interviewed felt that the government has performed badly in reducing crime and 59% believed that government has not done enough in resolving violent crime between communities.  

Due to lack of access to information as a result of the classification of information rules according to Section 9 of the Official Secrets Act which states than 'any information or thing which under any system of security classification from time to time, in use or by any branch of the government, it not to be disclosed to the public and of which the disclosure to the public would be prejudicial to the security of Nigeria'. Subsection 2 further provides that classified matter remains classified ‘notwithstanding that it is properly transmitted to, or obtained from, or otherwise dealt with, by a person acting on behalf of the Government of a State’.  This Act places restrictions in view of protecting different kinds of information based on the sensitivity of information, age and what the law and other regulatory stipulations. Nigeria being a former British colony still follows the British system of classification restricted, confidential, secret and top (or most) secret in the ascending order of sensitivity. A restricted material is considered capable of causing undesirable effects if made generally available to the public and can therefore only be released to particular individuals. For example the Annual Report of the Nigeria Police Force is marked 'restricted'.  Confidential materials are those materials that can cause damage or be prejudicial to national security if publicly available. Materials tagged ‘secret’ are considered to be sensitive records; those tagged ‘top secret’ are considered to be capable of causing exceptionally grave damage to national security if made public. 

In the course of work, there have been varying experiences with different security and law enforcement agencies. Sometime in 2009 = 2010, CLEEN Foundation was conducting an assessment of gender policies in security and law enforcement agencies in Nigeria with a view to identifying good practices that could form part of a compendium of good practices in security sector institutions in Nigeria. We met with a brick wall with most of the Institutions because the information we were requesting for could not be released to us because 'it was a matter of national security'. One wonders why gender policies (if they exist) within an organisation should be a matter of gender policy?

Data and Statistics are also information that are guarded under the 'national security' purview. It is not too easy getting empirical data from some of the agencies to support some of the position that are made in public space. The world has moved away from anecdotal evidence, practitioners, citizenry, policy makers  should be able to make informed evidence based decision. However, what we find is that most times, as practitioners and citizens we rely on third party data / statistics or information. This in itself is not bad - if it is used as a means of comparison and possibly filling in gaps - just as the CLEEN Foundation's National Crime Victimization Survey Findings compared with the Data from the NPF Annual Report. The challenge now is that since 2009 its almost been impossible to get copies of the NPF Annual Report. This ought to be made easily available on the NPF website.  Still on the NPF Annual Report - one would find that as at 2009 (because that was the last copy I have seen), the data for total number of police personnel is a summed up aggregate. It is not disaggregated  as per gender or possibly age. Same with the recording of crime and victimization - not disaggregated as per gender or age. This makes it difficult to interrogate effectiveness of policies and possibly actions within the organisation which invariably affects service delivery to the public. 

Another topical area is in relation to manpower wastage. Do we know as a country how many lives have been lost as a result of the insurgency in the north or other perennial conflicts? How many security personnel, the age range, gender etc How many civilians, age range, gender etc such that we have an idea of what these conflicts and insecurities are costing us as a nation. And possibly commence an analysis of when we would start to feel the impact of the loss (that is, thinking beyond the billions of nairas that are voted now that is largely not being accounted for). 

What added value does the FoIA bring to National Security Discourse?
The FoIA provides public access to government held information. It strengthens transparency and accountability. It allows citizens to better understand the role of government and the decisions being made by the government on their behalf. This strengthens a symbiotic relationship of trust and confidence building. An informed citizenry can hold the government accountable for their policies and members of the public can make informed decisions based on reliable evidence based facts rather than information that stem from the rumour mill.  Political instability and violence in Nigeria (and Africa in general) are often outcomes of rumours and misinformation. There are numerous examples of this situations that can be cited - in November 2009, there were tensions after the departure of the Late President Yaradua for medical treatment and there were no proper handing over process to the Vice President ....; similar situations took place in 2012 in relation to the health of the governors of Enugu, Cross Rivers States and the follow up tensions in the states. 

The Transparency International Bribe Payers Index (2011) ranks the arms, military and security sector in the top 10 most corrupt prone industries worldwide. The activities of the Arms, Military and Security sector are shrouded in secrecy under the guide of 'national security' which is extended at times to inappropriate cover up aspects of defence or security contracts. 

The culture of secrecy is a driver of a culture of impunity and corruption within a system. For example within the security sector institutions / agencies there are cases where monies spent are  far more than is reasonably justifiable compared to the threats or insecurity that ought to be addressed. 

What can be done? or What is the way forward?
Security and Law Enforcement Organisations should be encouraged to be more proactive in the disclosure of information. They must be ready to be transparent and accountable to the general populace. 

Nigeria being a democratic society should lean towards being an open society. An informed and educated citizenry is important to engagement, transparency and accountability. The Press plays the role of watchdog of government on access to official information and dissemination to the public. Some of newspapers have been proscribed and journalists prosecuted for releasing information that has been considered sensitive or classified to the public. An informed citizenry with the support of the press have the capacity to hold the state accountable through the power of information gathering and dissemination.  Section 22 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides the agencies of mass media with the freedom to ‘uphold the responsibility, accountability of the government to the people’. At the regional level Article 9(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights which is part of Nigeria’s domestic law under the African Charter. The media in Nigeria can be divided into the traditional and new media – information are easily accessible through the new media compared to the traditional media.

The Security and Law Enforcement agencies have press units that are headed by senior officers, possibly trained and equipped. The responsibility of these Units are to serve as the nexus of engagement and interaction with the general public and with specialised sectors like CSOs, Academia etc by providing proactive information. The Defence Policy provides that a press corps shall be constituted by the Defence Headquarters during times of war or other similar national emergencies for orderly reporting of events that are related to the war or emergency. It states further that in ‘all situations national interest and the need for national security shall take precedence[5]’.

One should also state that the mass media need to be well informed about their responsibilities to make informed decision in a situation of diverse security threats – there is a need to ensure the balance and the ensure that we have an enlightened and informed citizenry. Closely linked to this is social media and citizens journalism platform on which readers are major contributors to the reporting platform.
Concluding, embracing proactive disclosure of information in a world where there are different technologies and ways of getting information is key to maintaining and strengthening national security and not the other way around.


* Discussion Paper by Kemi Okenyodo, Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation at the National Conference on the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 organised by Right to Know (R2K). Theme: Nigeria's Freedom of Information Act 2011, 2 Years After: Challenges and Prospects @ The New Chelsea Hotel, Plot 123 Cadastral Zone AO, Central Business District, Abuja, 30th and 31st July, 2013.

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