Nigerian police urged to be 'humane' as they tighten security

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FILE PHOTO: Police officers are seen conducting checks on vehicles at the Federal High court in Abuja

LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigerian police are to tighten security at schools and hospitals and conduct stop and search operations in a bid to stamp out increasing gang attacks, they said on Sunday, at the same time as being urged to be "professional and humane".

Attacks by Islamist militants and armed gangs are some of the biggest security challenges facing the country as it prepares to hold elections in February.

"The IGP (Inspector General of Police) has equally ordered regular patrols, stop and search, raids, and show of force by tactical commanders to clamp down on pockets of crime and criminality recorded in some states of the federation," police said in a statement.

The statement added that police should be "civil, professional and humane in the course of discharging their duties".

Activists and citizens say despite government promises to transform policing, abuses continue, including extortion, violence and intimidation.

In October 2020, Nigerians demonstrated against police brutality in the worst civil unrest in the country since its return to civilian rule in 1999.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Nick Macfie)