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Nigeria cops torture, corrupt - chief

15 February 2012, 08:44

Abuja - Nigeria's corrupt police force acts on the whims of the highest bidder and officers carry out extra-judicial killings and torture, the acting inspector general of police said.

President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered a complete overhaul of the police and sacked the former inspector general and his six deputies last month after a key suspect in a Christmas Day bomb attack escaped.

"The Nigeria police force has fallen to its lowest level... police duties have become commercialised and provided at the whims and caprices of the highest bidder," Mohammed Abubakar, who became acting police chief last month, said in a speech to senior officers on Monday.

"Justice has been perverted, people's rights denied, innocent souls committed to prison, torture and extra-judicial killings perpetrated," Abubakar added. The address was distributed to reporters on Tuesday.

Radical Islamist sect Boko Haram, which has killed hundreds this year, has been waging an insurgency against the police and other authority figures since 2009. Its attacks have grown more deadly and sophisticated in the last six months.

The sect's former leader Mohammed Yusuf was killed in police custody that year and its members state the extra-judicial killing as one of the key factors driving their attacks.

- Reuters

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