By Oki Samson
The viral videos of Saturday 27th August 2022 in which some youths engaged in frontal attack of policemen in the Ilupeju division of Lagos Command is one of many recent unwholesome practices targeted at the men and officers of the Nigeria Police. If the police officers at the Ilupeju incident have been taken over by rage to shoot at the four youths namely Bolade Richard Talabi, male, 31, a corper in Oyo state; Odigie Ehis, male, 35; Oyedeji Motunrayo Salamot, female, 26, a corper in Oyo state; and Miracle Onukwoforobi, female, 27 years, it would have attracted widespread condemnation of the Nigeria Police by human rights bodies both locally and in the international community. It is commendable that the officers maintained a high sense of decency and decorum through the process.
It should be stated that the Ilupeju saga is just one of many attacks on officers and men of Nigeria Police. Some others have happened in the nation’s recent history. While Nigerians are quick to talk about fundamental human rights, it is important to inform that they can do better.
A Police officer is first a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This confers on him or her same fundamental rights as other Nigerians, in uniform or in mufti.
Moreso, it should be noted that with rights come responsibilities. In the same vein, you cannot infringe on others’ rights as you want to enjoy yours. National Association of Online Security News Publishers, NAOSNP will advise that a Nigerian has taken up the patriotic duty to become a member of the Nigeria Police, the agency saddled with responsibility of maintenance of law and order in the country, does not de-robe him of his human rights. He/she should be accorded due respect.
Lately, the Police have been up to the task in purging itself of unsavoury elements. While they are urged to do more, it is good that the civil population will not constitute itself bad eggs for the Police by intentionally inflaming them.
The quartet who claimed to be going for a performance at Bobby camp were flagged down by officers on stop and search duty at about 17:50 hrs on Saturday 27th August 2022. They were driving a grey Honda saloon car with Reg No AKD 956 GZ with 5 occupants along Afolabi Lesi junction by Town Planning Way in Ilupeju, Lagos.
During the search, a plastic crusher with substance suspected to be Indian hemp was found in the jacket of one Bolade Richard Talabi ‘m’ who admitted to being the owner. The officer told him that he cannot leave the scene and the suspect grabbed the officer and tried to retrieve the exhibit. He involved his co-occupants and they all assaulted the officers and caused serious traffic. They were all arrested to the station and charged to court.
Yesterday, according a tweet by the Lagos State Police Command’s Spokesperson, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, Oki Samson of NAOSNP can report that the four (4) were arraigned in the court of law on the charges of serious assault on police officers, obstructing police officers from performing lawful duties, and unlawful possession of substance suspected to be cannabis. They have been remanded in Kirikiri maximum prison awaiting their judgment which was adjourned till October 10th, 2022.
In a separate press statement e-signed and released to the NAOSNP by the Force PRO, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi stated that, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has strongly condemned the recent trend of assault on Police Officers and men in uniform, carrying out official and lawful duties in various locations across the nation.
‘The IGP emphasized that attacks on Police Officers, who are uniformed agents of the state, is both illegal and an affront on the rule of law. The IGP warned that attacks on police officers and men in the line of duty would no longer be tolerated under whatever guise, as the Force holds the lives of its personnel sacrosanct’, hinted the Force PRO, CSP Adejobi.
He added: ‘Consequently, the IGP has directed all Police Commands and Formations to ensure that individuals who engage in assault on police officers, irrespective of preceding factors, are made to face the full wrath of the law via swift prosecution in courts of competent jurisdiction. The Inspector-General of Police while reiterating the commitment of the Force to ensuring protection of lives and property, stressed the importance of according respect to the fundamental rights of Police officers and other security operatives, in order to enable them advance their sacred mandate of serving and protecting the citizens better and maintenance of law and order.’
Nigerians can certainly do better. The memories of Endsars is still fresh. Nigerian youths must desist from inciting police officers. Police officers must also perform their activities with all sense of civility and respect to the general public. Nobody should desire a lawless society. Nigeria cannot afford to walk down that road.