An NGO, Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), has called for the establishment of mental health desks at Divisional Police Commands in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Dr Aminu Garba, the Coordinator of AHBN, made call on Thursday in Abuja during a one-day training programme organised for police officers drawn from the 10 FCT Metro Divisional Police Commands.
The theme of the programme is “Highlights of Mental Health Problems as a Support to Routine Police Investigation and Interrogation.”
Garba said the programme organised by the Crime Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CCAN) in collaboration with the Mandate Health Empowerment Initiatives and AHBN had 25 participants.
He said the training was organised in recognition of the fact that a lot of suspects being investigated and interrogated had mental challenges.
“Many a time, police officers are not well equipped to understand and handle suspects with mental health issues during interrogation.
“The training is to help police officers to understand the basic signs and symptoms of mental illness during investigations.
“The target is to ensure that police officers are fully equipped to confront any suspect with metal health issues during investigation and interrogation,” he said.
Mr Ameh Abba, the President, Mandate Health Initiative Empowerment (MHEI), an NGO, said the programme was organised to educate and sensitise participants to all it takes to be productive.
He said the event was organised because of the discovery of the importance of mental health during investigation and interrogation by police officers.
“As a matter of fact, mental health has become very critical, especially in relation to the operations of security operatives in Nigeria.
“To have them perform optimally, it is important we prioritise their mental health,” he said.
Mr Hassan Zaggi, the Chairman of CCAN, said the training was organised in recognition of the challenges confronting the operations of police officers.
He said the idea was to ensure that the media were part of the solutions to the problems confronting police officers in the discharge of their duties.