The immediate past President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, has commended the Inspector General of Police, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police and the entire Lagos Police Command over the commissioning of the Complaint Response Unit of the Lagos State Police Command.

He also expressed the hope that the Unit would not only promote civil/police accountability but also serve as a robust platform for engagement between members of the public and the police authority.

Akpata, who gave the commendation in his remarks at the commissioning of the Lagos State Police Command Complaint Response Unit in Lagos, also said he hoped the Unit would boost public confidence in the Nigerian Police as the citizens will feel more secured and protected knowing that the Police is only a phone call away, ready and willing to listen and address issues and complaints.

“As you are aware, the current young generation of Nigerians want their voices heard on relevant national issues. I want to strongly believe that this Unit will breach the communication gap and fill the void which gave rise to the #Endsars struggle,” Akpata said.

The former NBA President said he hoped the Complaint Response Unit would serve as a platform for information and data gathering, which is a crucial element of policing especially with respect to planning and preparation.

He further hoped it would enable the Police Management to receive complaints directly from members of the Public on erring police officers and take timely action, adding that “recalling, investigating and disciplining any officer found wanting, as well as providing feedback to members of the public on the internal measures taken to address their complaints and grievances”, would go a long way in promoting accountability and transparency.

“Overall, I hope that the Unit will bring policing closer to the people and boost police/community collaboration in line with 21st century innovation and global standards of policing,” he said.

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Akpata congratulated the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, the Lagos State Police Command and the entire Nigeria Police Force for the successful execution of the project, given that many ideas that are good on paper have been conceived but they never materialised due to one factor or the other.

“Although I am not a police officer, and I am therefore a guest at today’s event, I can state categorically that I know the level of work that was put in to ensure the successful execution of this project.

“Indeed, I recall that during my term as the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, I was part of those that advocated for the creation of the Police Complaint Response Unit in line with Sections 131-133 of the Police Act 2020. To the best of my knowledge, the Lagos State Police Command has emerged, perhaps unsurprisingly, as the first State Police Command to establish its Complaint Response Unit,” he said.

Akpata said he was aware that the IGP had issued a circular to all Police Commands in the country to immediately set up their respective Complaints Response Unit in line with Sections 131-133 of the Police Act 2020.

“When the request for assistance towards the set-up of the Police Complaint Response Unit was presented to me, even though I was no longer President of the Bar, I did not hesitate to respond positively to the request as a matter of patriotism and altruism. I am therefore delighted to witness the successful implementation of the ideals and agenda behind the creation of the Response Unit,” he said.

He further commended the IGP for his solemn resolve in giving life to “this all-important Section of the Police Act which is aimed at promoting civil/ police accountability”.

“I am ever ready and willing to assist the police in any way possible not just in ensuring the successful execution of this project to actualise its objectives but also in respect of similar progressive projects of the Police,” he said.