NEC to security agencies: Ensure recruits undergo psychiatric evaluation, drug tests - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

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Friday, 15 October 2021

NEC to security agencies: Ensure recruits undergo psychiatric evaluation, drug tests

By Our Correspondent




The National Economic Council (NEC) has asked heads of security agencies to ensure that recruits undergo psychiatric evaluations and drug tests before enlistment.


This was part of resolutions reached at the end of the NEC meeting held on Friday, and presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.


According to a statement issued by Laolu Akande, spokesperson to the vice-president, the council said heads of security agencies must ensure that their personnel are “psychologically fit” to carry arms.


The council’s statement comes amid reports on plans to commemorate the first anniversary of the #EndSARS protests.


In October 2020, Nigerians took to the streets in many parts of the country to protest against police brutality under the #EndSARS movement.


In line with one of the demands of the protesters, the council asked the federal government to give priority to the general welfare of police officers and personnel of other security agencies.


“NEC called on the leadership of the security agencies to ensure that persons recruited into arms-bearing security agencies undergo psychiatric evaluations and drug tests before enlistment and periodically after enlistment to ensure that the personnel are psychologically fit to carry live weapons and to identify behavioural tendencies that may require psycho-social interventions,” the statement reads.


“The council urged the federal government to give priority to the general welfare of police officers and personnel of other security agencies.


“In particular, it advocated the review of pension and gratuity of retired police officers and attainment of parity of remuneration by police officers with sister security agencies.”


The council also advised security agencies to “dutifully observe rules of engagement in the discharge of their functions/duties around and within the civilian populace”, and also called for “a comprehensive assessment of all police stations across the country with a view to ensuring that they are fit for purpose”.


While calling on security agencies to “deploy cutting-edge technology in the fight against crimes”, it asked the police, in particular, to “in line with the mandatory training provisions of the Police Act 2020, prioritise training of police officers on procedures for the entrenchment of human rights provisions guaranteed by the constitution and on the professional handling of weapons”.


NEC also said those detained as a result of the #EndSARS protests are “expeditiously processed with due regard to the principles of fair hearing”, adding that there is a need to ensure that “the system established within the Nigeria Police Force for receipt and handling of complaints or petitions is strengthened, and all police officers on duty should be in police-approved uniform with their full names and force numbers boldly written for easy identification”.