Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Corruption in Nigeria's police has become institutionalized and junior officers are expected to share bribes, Human Rights Watch says
Their report describes a system of "paying returns" when officers are expected to pay up the chain of command a share of extortion money. It says officers have to pay bribes within the force to get posts and are expected to meet monetary targets. Extortion of civilians and bribery of police is a fact of life in Nigeria - often taking place in public and in broad daylight. Motorists at checkpoints, traders, businessmen, sex workers and those under arrest are extremely likely to encounter threats and demands for money. There are also numerous cases of shootings and deaths at checkpoints when civilians refuse to pay. The Human Rights Watch report - running to 102 pages - says often victims of crime unable to pay will not get justice. Meanwhile, wealthy criminals are able to bribe officers to drop a case or influence an investigation. The report accuses senior police officers and government ministers of failing to tackle deep and entrenched police abuses.