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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Discourse 315 DPO killed Pregnant Woman, Baby

Discourse 314
By Dr. Aliyu Tilde

DPO killed Pregnant Woman, Baby

The Sunday Trust of 26 December, 2010 carried the distressing story of how the brutality of a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) at Rigasa neighbourhood of Kaduna led to the death of a nine-month pregnant woman, Binta, and her baby.

Binta’s painful journey to death, as reported in the paper, started when her three year old child lost a slippers belonging to a co-tenant who used the opportunity to insult Binta continuously. For the sake of peace, Binta bought a pair of new slippers and sent it to the co-tenant. Instead of receiving it and let the matter die, the co-tenant beat the daughter who took the slippers to her and also engaged the nine-month old Binta in a fight. By the time she was done, Binta was bleeding.

Not satisfied that she has beaten the hell out of Binta, she went to the divisional police office and lodged a complaint that Binta has fought her. The DPO ordered three policemen to arrest Binta immediately. She was taken to the police station and detained all night in spite of pleas from her relations and husband. The complainant was not arrested.

When the police realised that her condition may lead to death, they called her brother whose name they found on her cell phone. With him, the police conveyed her to a nearby clinic in a police van. The clinic declined to treat her seeing her condition and referred them to Yusuf Dantsoho General Hospital at Tudun Wada, Kaduna. There, Binta gave birth to a baby girl who died five minutes later. And Binta too died that evening.

The husband called the DPO on phone and told him that he, the DPO, has killed his wife. It was then the DPO ordered the arrest of the complainant who is renowned in the neighbourhood for her quarrels. It was too late. She has run away.

A number of things made this story very sad. One, the brutality and subsequent death was over a bathroom slippers of just N80 (50 cents)!. The DPO should have reconciled the two instead of killing one of them and her baby.

Two, relatives of the deceased begged for Binta’s bail but the DPO denied it and insisted on incarcerating the woman even as she was bleeding from the beating she received from the complainant. He was so heartless an animal that he even refused to allow her drink water which she asked the husband to provide her with.

Three, unlike Maimuna who survived her serial rape to demand for justice, Binta did not survive to even tell her story, let alone demand for justice. Nor would her baby girl know the circumstance that killed her mother, for the baby died immediately after her birth.

Four, the response of the Kaduna Police Command is most irresponsible. All it did was to transfer the DPO to another division, as if he did nothing wrong. The Commissioner of Police even refused to answer a question raised by a journalist about the incident at a press conference. The command is keeping the result of the autopsy hidden.

This story, like that of Maimuna, epitomises the callousness of many in the Nigerian Police. By the refusal of the Kaduna command to sanction the DPO, the Police have clearly chosen to side with him in the case. It is not worth any punishment, in their judgement. The police by their action are asking the nation the following questions: So what, if a Nigerian loses his life in a police cell? How many such deaths happen across the country every day in police cells? Why would Binta’s be different even to warrant a whole oga DPO to be reprimanded? It is normal!

It is this camaraderie that damages the police beyond correction. The good among them are not ready to punish or expose the bad. The guilty is hidden and protected, unless he is inconsequential when he will be used as a sacrificial lamb. That is why Inspector Dantalle escaped from being charged in Kano despite his participation in the rape of Maimuna. The girl insists that he too raped her. But the police commissioner only demoted him to sergeant. Nigerian Police Force!

The police should not therefore blame the public for any generalisation. The Police force is one of the worst institutions of government in Nigeria and one of the worst human rights violators in the world. There is no crime that its personnel have not been committing in this country. They rape the vulnerable; they kill at the slightest provocation; many have been caught in armed robbery; they provide politicians with the security cover to rig elections and harass the opposition; they extort money from drivers; they hesitate to provide security to civilians when their help is needed; just name it. Only few people were able to come outsatisfied after having any business with the Nigerian Police.

The only two explanations they give to their incapacity are their inadequate numbers and lack of sophisticated equipment. If we may ask, did the DPO in Rigasa need three policemen to arrest a pregnant woman? Did he need any equipment to detain her in her bleeding state under the subhuman conditions of the Nigerian police cell, without food or water? All he needed to do was to behave like a human being, not an animal who is animated by the little bribe from a complainant to kill an innocent mother and her baby. It is that humanity that is missing in the Nigerian police. Its personnel could freely engage in human right abuses with impunity. And because their officer corps is raised through such a regime of violations it hardly reprimands its subordinates for any misdeed. Instead, the subordinate is encouraged by the assurance of espirit de corps to violate the rights of Nigerians again and again. The police have lost the power and wisdom of self-control.

The image of the police is in its hands. It can improve it by standing up to those who violate its ethics among its rank and file, if it likes. Who is surprised that the DPO of Kwali before whom the complaint of Maimuna’s rape and sex-slavery was brought pleaded with her relations to “forgive his men”? Who is surprised that the Police command in Kano has not reprimanded him too? They have grown through the rank and file of one of the most corrupt institutions in the country. They cannot be different. Ringim has the arduous task of proving himself different by changing the pattern of behaviour of his officers. He must punish where punishment is desired. He must show his men that Nigerians are more important than the uniforms the police wear.

On our part, I think Nigerians have been handling the police with kid’s gloves. We let them go with literally anything. We call ourselves educated when we do not even know the basic elements of our rights. There are institutions we can use to seek redress, not simply sitting down and crying before a newspaper reporter. The judiciary is there. Nobody is above it. What stops victims from lodging their complaints immediately their rights are violated with public complaint commissions, with their elected representatives, with their pastors and imams, with the human rights groups in their states, with just anyone they revere?

The police, for example, shiver at the sight of a lawyer and immediately start to do the right thing. Why do we fail to avail ourselves with the services of lawyers? If the victim cannot afford one, what of the state legal aid that offers free legal services just as does the NBA to such poor victims? Going public should even be the last resort, though the radio and the newspapers have been forthcoming here.

Educating us on our legal rights I think is the best contribution any government or private agency can offer towards curtailing these abuses. It will yield more dividends than concentrating on the present approach that is largely post-mortem and very costly. Let people know that where the police are involved in a violation, very little would naturally come out from them. They cannot be judges in their own course. This is a basic presumption in law. Recourse must be found in avenues outside the rotten department. Had the relatives of Maimuna not sought the help of the Hisbah and human rights groups in Kano, her case would not have been heard by the world. The police would have suppressed it as they suppressed millions of human rights abuses before. Even now, I agree that a more prudent independent investigation needs to be carried out by an independent body on Maimuna's case as suggested by many contributors.

Since the story of Binta broke out last Sunday, I have been informed that WRAPA is working on this case. Also pursuing the case are FIDA, PSC, the NHRC and a few other NGOs. They, along with WRAPA, are ascertaining the facts of the case as a first step.

The DPO in Rigasa was instrumental to the death of Binta. He should be charged with voluntary homicide. Simple. Binta did not need to be his mother before he could know that a bleeding pregnant woman requires urgent medical attention, not detention in a filthy police dungeon. His classroom training must have told him that his most important duty as a policeman is the protection of life, not destroying it. Here, he chose to destroy both the mother and her baby. His training also must have taught him the principle of fair hearing, the right for the accused to be heard before he is charged.

It is, however, regrettable that his practice taught him something different. It taught him to take bribe, take sides and kill the life. In addition, it taught him that he is a sacred cow.

Not this time. After killing his victim, the coward rushed to cover his ass by ordering the arrest of the complainant and seeking a transfer. He got it. But Binta too will get justice, even in her grave. The cow must be slaughtered this time. Let the coward be rest assured.

This case makes me to suggest the formation of an NGO that would specifically address issues bordering on police human rights abuses. It can be called “Friends of the NPF” or any other suitable word because the Police force cannot have better friends than members of such organisation. The police should not see this as a threat but rather as an aid that will help them solve one of their most pressing problems. Saving the police from itself must concern every Nigerian, in my estimation. The abuses are just too many and endemic for the force to extricate itself from. It requires a concerted external pressure. The cases are also too many for existing NGOs to be tackling while they also address their primary areas of concern.

The funding of such a group should come from individuals, groups and the government, which can channel its own through the NHRC and the police departmental vote. Such a group should be composed of human right lawyers, interested ex-police officers with proven integrity, human rights groups, community leaders in its branches and interested individuals. It could even be formed jointly by human rights groups. I hope readers will help to refine this rudimentary idea and go ahead to source the people who would be ready to follow it up to fruition.

May the souls of Binta and her baby rest in peace.

28 December 2010


saleh yamusa said...

Very pathetic story. The NPF needs complete overhaul, just like the Nigerian Nation. I think you don't need to be a police or a lawyer to know that the deceased health is more important than her offence, that is if at all she was an offender. I believe its a good idea to form such an NGO, for it will make the police stop some of their excesses.

Abubakar said...

I hereby register my name 'Abubakar Sule' to be an interim member of 'The friends of the NFP'. Let a lawyer volunteer to steer the registration with CAC. Dr Aliyu Tilde/Maryam Uwais should create a register with cour contacts to intiate first meeting. Work out a mission statement and members finance its take off. We should know it is not without risk, taking legal and PR issues with our dear NPF. But i am ready for one!!! Imagine your intervention to Maimuna's hope and likely for Binta soon. Who knows the next victim of police brutality?

Ibrahim M. Attahir said...

Now we are talking. That is why in one of my comments on the Maimuna case I suggested that the trust fund should grow beyond Maimuna. I am happy that now people are beginning to see attitude of some bad eggs in the Police and the refusal of the good ones to punish them. There was a time that our police had the slogan of "Fire for Fire". When another IGP took over he changed it to "To Serve and Protect with Integrity". I said in a speech that the Police needed to accompany the change of slogan with change of attitude. I do not know whether they have changed the slogan again. But I believe that they have not changed their attitude. To them the first to complain is always right and the person against whom the complainant is made is always wrong. The police are in a better position to know that there are many occasions the culprit rushes to make complaint. That was the situation in the case of SAHALATU SHAZALI VS THE STATE.
I also agree that our nonchalance attitude as enlightened persons encourage police to continue with their impunity. Our sentiments impair our sense of justice. I still recall that it was mainly Ndigbo that stood firmly on the case of Apo Six because the victims were their kinsmen. Other people did not bother much. I hope the cases of Maimuna and Binta will mark a turning point.

Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde said...

Please count out Tilde and Maryam in the proposed NGOs. Our hands are already full. I am suggesting it to others who can do it. I pledge my support to them.

Adeiza said...

Dear readers and contributors, have we asked ourselves what the minimum requirements is to join the NPF? Correct me if I m wrong but I understand its four (4) passes. I pray this is false else the PF will be filled with souls having brains even the chimp will NEVER admire. Lets visit the DPO's paper, maybe, just maybe we will have a clue of how to start tackling the NPF shortcomings.

Hina said...

This reminds of what happened to a poor teenager last year in Jos, his mum separated with the dad, so he was raised by his step-mum who continued looking after him even after the death of his father. He suffers from a psychological problem though he looks very healthy and do some jobs to support the step-mum. We have no biological relationship with him, but because he works for my brother, he usually follows him to our family house, I took interest in the boy specifically due to his illness which I believe is depression and showing him some caring will help, so I spend some time with him, based on that he started visiting us on daily basis.
However, he suddenly disappeared, I called his handset several times and was not available, then I just heard that his step-mum was looking for him, he got depressed and out of his sense at night and went out while she was asleep.
It was after some days that we heard he was at The Jos University Teaching Hospital. Seeing him made my heart devastated for his handsome face has been turned to something else, his mouth by the left side and one eye had changed completely, while his arms looked paralyzed. To my greatest surprise and shock, he told us he was badly beaten up by the police the night he went out, they thought he was a criminal, so they beat him up and left him there, and somehow he was taken to the hospital by some good people and was taken care of before his family was traced, what he assured me was even though he was sick, but he is very sure of those that did that to him.
He is recovering gradually and actually we did not make any move to report those that cannot differentiate a sick from an intoxicated criminal, we just recited ALLAH YA ISA. This NGO idea will certainly save many lives. Thank you for your good efforts, our country is in desperate need of people like you

Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde said...

Rahina that was a very sad story. What sort of people are these kind of policemen? What do they teach them in their training schools? What orders do they give them at work. Lallai Allah ya isa. Allah ya isa.

Ibrahim Jibiya said...

i'm seriously bewildered by the uncountable number of human abuse crimes of incalculable damages to humanity being perpetrated by the so called 'NPF'. I therefore consider the movement for the inauguration of an NGO meant to emancipate the trampled victims of the 'elephants' as an obligation on us. Let us join hearts and hands and work in deeds and words to promote, persue and protect the rights of the citizenry especially the weak and less privileged who are in most cases the victims of such transgressors. I pray to Allah, The Almighty, to strengthen the movement, help and safeguard those who uphold it for the benefit of the people and the nation.
Ibrahim Jibiya

ds said...

Very Bad story, thousands of such are always from police force. That is why a dead body of police is used to be different from other dead body due to ther inhuman act.pls register me as a member. Dahiru Sani Shu'aibu

yusudume said...

Very sad story but this is how it is with the decaying institutions in Nigeria, there is no way poor man can be empower and have the capabilities of freedom without transforming this very important institution the police force.Abundants evidence in this country have shown that the poor man lack freedom, and he is powerlessness because of the malfunction of the police institution.
But ifelt the issue lies on the nature of the democracy we are now practicing. The executive arms of government and the legislative are not doing their check and balance fuctions agaist the police. The politicisation of the institutions by the politicians is uncalled for.

yusudume said...

muhammad yusuf dandume

Anonymous said...

You can't mend the PF without mending the Nation.The Police is just a reflection of the Nigerian Nation.

Alh Ishak said...

It is really a big task mending the rots of this nation, let us start with education, if only we know our rights, hardly could some one molest us. through education we can fight poverty, her we are being empowered, once out of poverty we can start counting how far are we to the promise land.

Walid Moukarim said...

Dr. Tilde, pls do add my name to the list just after Abubakar Sule, the friends of the NPF or better Policing for Justice.
the problem in the police is a lack of will and a compendium of corruption ( morale, social, religious, financial, etc)

Mohammed H. Iliyas said...

Now it is becoming obvious that the task before us is similar to Mainuna’s case and there will surely be many many more to come. It is obvious why nobody talks of financial support now and the reason is simple. It takes me back to my earlier suggestion of opening support fund from which Maimuna and other similar victims should benefit from and which can also be used to reduce the occurrence of the ugly incidences we see every day in the hands of the police. Thanks to Ibrahim M Tahir for reiterating this. The formation of an NGO is also very positive.

zamani said...

As usual, Dr. has done well write up. But dont you think that having an NGO at a national scale rather than within the 6 geopolitical regions we have?

Anonymous said...

Sad Binta and her Baby Died due to an incompetent and careless system.

Let us fight for leaders that will help us change our society for better. we will do this with our VOTES

mukhtar lawal suleiman said...

all said and nothing yet done thats what i believe everyday we do, people like dr. Tilde always brings to shore the myriads problem affecting the society,proffer solutions and ways to tackle or go about curbing them. But we almst always just tow their line by talking without taking any practical steps toward rectification, tackling or curbing the menaces...and at the longrun nothing or little is been achieved.practicals steps have to be taken.FOR THAT IM HEREBY HOPING TO FIRE THE FIRST SALVO BY OFFERING N50,000 AS THE IMMEDIATE FUND THAT MAYBE NEEDED FOR REGISTRATION AFTER THE FIRST MEETING.
I will also meet Dr.tilde over d weekend and have more discussions with him on d issue n take more suggestions...i also have contact with 3 former DIGs and had had such types of discussions with them and i believe atleast 2 will be ready to assist toward setting the NGO on name is mukhtar lawal suleiman and my numbers are 08036935364 and 07085965052...we will need lawyers, journalists and everyother person.we need your support to make this enterprising a force to reckon with...pls lets start it and save our brothers and sisters and MOVE THIS NATION THAT WE CANNOT DO WITHOUT FORWAD.
Names will be collected either by calling or text to those numbers....and the first meeting will be announce by text and call to all those that forwards their name and also i believe inshaAllah Dr. Will eandevour to announce such in his write ups.
May God help us and make us beneficial to our brothers.

yarinya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meela said...

Its so annoying, wats all dis? Human have no right in Nigeria, am really really scad.The police that are suppose to be there to protect us,are turning into our worst enemies. This is so shameful, no security in Nigeria its too bad sorry to say.

Abubakar said...

Oh God, i pray this is not the end of this dream to begin an NGO that could be for the benefit of the suppressed. I monitored how follow ups came to a sudden halt even after Lawal volunteered a token for start up. But with apology Dr Tilde, despite the tightness of your hands, sacrifice to see how a first meeting takes place. Your blog is important. Lets get a trusted name atleast from you, being that our personal membership profiles are to be with some one and atleast some cash will be involved to facilitate take off- logistics among ourselfs. Do you think anybody can volunteer to give certain information about themselves for the membership, or pay dues if you are not involve. But after the 1st meeting we can give you leave. Your blog inspired us! some one should come in with a 3rd step and way forward please.

Anonymous said...

The decay in the NPF is so enormou that one finds it difficult to proffer solutions to it. from where do we start the reform? is it from the Police Academies/Colleges? Or is it from the Police Service Commission? Infact the whole mess is embedded in the cankerworm of CORRUPTION that is daily eating into the fabrics of our society at an alarming rate. The high level of insecurity emanating from gross indiscipline/corruption in all the tenets of our society needs to be combatted in order to sanitize the custodians of our security; the NPF. the only option is to ensure we vote forcredible candidates in the forthcoming elections and ensure we guard and protect our votes at all cost otherwise we shall continue to witness such symptoms of decay in our society evident by police brutality, loss of lives and properties through unchecked armed banditry, kidnap,rape,avoidable road accidents etc.

danjume said...

please count me as a member of this noble cause.i can be reached on 08054327927

Giwa said...

It takes an 'elite' literate Nigeria Police man some minutes to think before doing something because he must think of his own and family future, but does not take a seconds of time for 'non elite' literate Nigeria Policeman to think. HE MAY HAVE NO FUTURE OR SEE POLICE WORK AS 'A MAFIA BENEFIT'

Giwa A. R.

mukhtar lawal suleiman said...

Abubakar thanks for your contribution and interest.I have talk to Dr. And within this days we are goin to meet and i believe amidst his tight schedules he will create a time for at least the first 2 or 3 meetings.Danjume and others that called for their pledge membership thanks too, you will also be notified personally and also thru this channel by the Dr. InshaAllah and also by me.We pls have to know that no solution comes without effort and we all are vulnerable to this type of unfortunate issue,if not directly atleast our sisters,brothers,relatives,children are all out there.


Abubakar said...

Good and thank you as well Lawal. I wont be physically in attendance at the 1st meeting, because i currently based in Europe. However in will supply my phone no and other personal details and needed for program to attend the 2nd meeting and atke up. Depending on the venue i be represented by a proxy and will gratefully meet every part of obligation decided by us.

Anonymous said...

The Aso killing,mohammed Yusuf extra judicial killing,maimuna's rape now the Binta killing,and many more that were not mention is the trade mark of our policing,Policemen are not from the moon but they are part of our society,so from recruitment to training that is we as Nigerians. Manzo Ayuba

MUSA said...

Yes establishing an NGO may serve the purpose but I strongly suggest ALL RETIRED NPF top brass should consider the rot as a serious calamity to their legacy.For goodness sake how much of the tax payers money was or will be used to train a police officer to the rank of DPO,I think the POLICE SERVICE COMMISSION must act, inward seriously inward for solution to such daily animal act of those entrusted to protect HUMAN LIVES.I will also advocate in addition to ALL other tests,a psychiatric test should be conducted for ALL SERVING AND FUTURE/PROSPECTIVE police officers.

mukhtar lawal suleiman said...

Good day brothers/sisters.
Abubakar thanks for you continues interest toward this course,we are yet to meet with dr. Becouse of our tight schedules but we have discuss on phone and in the nearest future inshaAllah we are goin to meet,so you will be notified as soon as we meet. We are extremely gratefull for others that called like isah muhd, abdulhakeem wale adedogba, henry pwam etc.
I have started discussing with a former DIG and now a practising lawyer having a chamber over the issue and he is very interested to help in giving insight guidance and contributing toward making this cause a reality and other personalities with immense exprience and contact that can augment in setting the pace, but immeadiately after my meeting with Dr. im sure there will be a good kickstart. The initial funding still isnt the issue mr. Isah and mal.umar becouse there is an earmarked money that i humbly pledge and i believe it wll cater for such.
MR.MANZO, MUSA & GIWA however much we want an elite police in the country, nothing will b achieve without a concensus/coordinated cries, our individual cries is a just a single shout in d midst of loud boomeranging noises and thats why dr. Recommend such and we all are intersted, what can be easily archieve with a coordinated body may be impractically impossible by just an individual.WE NEED EACH OTHER FOR THE NOBLE CAUSE.

Anonymous said...

What do you expect from the police when candidates have to bribe before being recruited? When you have a bunch of unemployables finding solace by joining the police force, what do you expect? From the recruit to the IG level, they are all the same. Idan tura ta kai bango...

Anonymous said...

Silver and Gold are both precious metals,but?Gen Buhari is a self made man,he rose from the ranks as a young office in the Nigerian Army to become one of the most respected,disciplined and professionally untainted officers the Nigerian Army has ever produced,Nuhu Ribadu on the other hand is a stooge and a creation of the Democratic Dictator.
You may wish to recall that Ribadu came into lime light during the Oputa Panel where he impressed his masters, this later paved way for him to become the pioneer BOSS of the EFCC. Ribadu performed "marvelously" as the Anti-Graft Commission Boss,not with however the following in his professorial kitty Bag:1.Insubordination as disrespect to his professional Boss,the IGP.2.Enjoyed irregular promotion to AIG,courtesy his master.3.Conducted himself in a manner that is prejudicial to discipline of the force and unbecoming of an officer at NIPPS.4.Flagrantly disobeyed the order and directive of his Boss and IGP to report after completion of his course at NIPPS 5.Dismissal from service. Finally,his Great Master came on board again, dismissal reverse,AIG rank reinstated. Haba! Is the the person you are comparing with Buhari? Risku

Anonymous said...

Silver and Gold are both precious metals,but?Gen Buhari is a self made man,he rose from the ranks as a young office in the Nigerian Army to become one of the most respected,disciplined and professionally untainted officers the Nigerian Army has ever produced,Nuhu Ribadu on the other hand is a stooge and a creation of the Democratic Dictator.
You may wish to recall that Ribadu came into lime light during the Oputa Panel where he impressed his masters, this later paved way for him to become the pioneer BOSS of the EFCC. Ribadu performed "marvelously" as the Anti-Graft Commission Boss,not with however the following in his professorial kitty Bag:1.Insubordination as disrespect to his professional Boss,the IGP.2.Enjoyed irregular promotion to AIG,courtesy his master.3.Conducted himself in a manner that is prejudicial to discipline of the force and unbecoming of an officer at NIPPS.4.Flagrantly disobeyed the order and directive of his Boss and IGP to report after completion of his course at NIPPS 5.Dismissal from service. Finally,his Great Master came on board again, dismissal reverse,AIG rank reinstated. Haba! Is the the person you are comparing with Buhari? Risku

Anonymous said...

It is indeed very sad. Only this kind of publications will make impact.The Police need to be challenged constantly through media and legal backing. As for the co-tenant she will surely pay the price where she cannot deny any of her actions. May the soul of the victim rest in peace.