The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the immediate reversal of the shift duty structure of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
While declaring open the Conference of Heads of Police Medical Facilities at the Force HQ on Thursday, April 25, 2019, the IGP announced that the current 12-hour two shifts system should be reversed to the traditional 8-hour three shifts system.
The directive means no police officer should be made to perform any duty exceeding eight hours within a space of 24 hours unless there is a local or national emergency.
The IGP said the decision is in line with arguments raised in certain quarters that incidents of misuse of firearms and other extra-judicial actions by police personnel often result directly from work-related stresses and emotional conditions which disorient their rationality.
He said, "Policing being a highly demanding job physically, mentally and psychologically, it is pertinent to note that efficiency in discharge of Police duties requires a good state of physical, mental and psychological wellbeing.
"Indeed, arguments have been raised that the resonating incidents of misuse of firearms and other extra-judicial actions by police personnel often result directly from work-related stresses and emotional conditions which disorient their rationality.
"In consideration of this, I have ordered that, with immediate effect, the shift duty structure of the Nigeria Police which is currently a 12-hour, 2-shifts system should be reverted to the traditional 8-hours, 3-shifts shift standard.
"This directive is specifically informed by the need to address a major, age-long occupational stress or which long hours of duty engenders among personnel in the Nigeria Police Force and which occasions depression and abuse of power and other unprofessional conducts.
"For purpose of clarity, henceforth, no police personnel should be made to perform any duty exceeding 8-hours within a space of 24 hours unless there is a local or national emergency.
"All of these, if not medically managed, could engender unprofessional reactions with fatal consequences to the affected police personnel and members of the public."
Nigerians call for Police reform
Police officers have come under the harsh spotlight over the past few weeks with a string of misconducts that have resulted in the loss of lives of innocent Nigerians.
Two traffic wardens of the Force were this month arraigned in court for complicity in the killing of Ogar Jumbo, an Assistant Superintendent of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), during a traffic stop in Nyanya, Abuja on March 20.
Ogunleye Olalekan, an inspector attached to the Special Anti-Cultism Squad (SACS) of the Lagos Police Command, was also arraigned in court for murder earlier this month for killing Kolade Johnson, an innocent man, on March 31.
Five officers were also recently arrested for the killing of Ada Ifeanyi, 20, in the Ajegunle area of Lagos on April 13. Another inspector, Dania Ojo, who was also involved in the shooting, has been declared wanted and remains at large.
The increase in the case of Police brutality has led to intense pressure from the public to reform the Force.
Last week, the Nigerian Senate passed the Police Reform Bill for presidential assent. One of the notable features of the bill is that it provides internal disciplinary mechanism for any police officer that maltreats or kills an innocent citizen.
The Senate also passed the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Bill which provides a legal framework for the management and control of the special intervention funds established under the Act for the training of personnel of the NPF.
The trust fund will be used to ensure that the NPF has the necessary operational equipment, instructional materials, police stations and living quarters.