Some security stakeholders in Lagos on Wednesday said the Nigeria Police Force would stop collecting money for granting bail to suspects if the force could be adequately funded by the government.
The stakeholders disclosed this at a one-day Civil Society Organisation/Media interaction on bail process at different police stations and the citizens’ rights to bail.
The interaction was organised by an NGO, the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) in collaboration with the Nigerian Policing Programme (NPP).
According to the stakeholders, the collection of money for bail at police formations such as the area commands and divisions is attributable to lack of monthly allocations, stressing that the system fuels such corruption.
Mr Ikechukwu Nwanguma, the Executive Director of RULAAC, said that many people had often complained about police demanding money before granting suspects bail while the officers complained of lack of funding by the government as well.
Nwanguma said that the interaction was aimed at raising public awareness on the rights of citizens and the bail process at police formations considering the powers and the duties of the police under the law.
He said granting of bail ought to be free at any police formation, but added that paucity of fund to carry out operational duties by the area commands, and the divisional police stations, was making corruption to thrive within the force.
“If we don’t address the root cause of corruption, which includes funding, welfare and equipping the force, the concept ‘bail is free’ may only be a cliche.
‘You don’t expect DPOs, Area Commanders to use their salaries to run their stations.
“Members of the public should understand the challenges of the police and help them to carry out their obligations in any way possible.
“The police must also tell the public their challenges,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Malachy Ugwummadu, President, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), said that the police might be under funded, yet that should not give them the licence to collect money for bail as the law of the land had stipulated that bail is free. (NAN)