It’s time to weed out rogue police officers

VIEWED customarily with suspicion, the Nigeria Police Force has persistently failed to earn the trust and respect of citizens despite its avowed claim that the “police is your friend.” Currently, there is an alarming upsurge in the harassment, maltreatment, illegal arrest, extortion and detention of Nigerians, especially the youth, by the police. Those that have recently tasted the bile of the brutal treatment include a social media influencer in Lagos, a motorist, a female friend of a robbery suspect and the family of a trader detained in lieu of his fleeing nephew. Police brutality and corruption have risen to distressing and wholly unacceptable levels.

The brutality and dehumanisation must be curbed. Policing in Nigeria is brutal and corrupt by definition. Specifically, in Lagos, Olumide Bakare, a social media influencer, got into trouble with eight officers this July on his way back from Ikeja to his Ogudu home. On the way, three officers jumped into the taxi he was in, arrested and hauled him to their station. After forcibly scrolling through his phone, he was accused of being an Internet fraudster (Yahoo Yahoo Boy) and other sundry crimes. Usually, this is a prelude to extortion. In his case, he was asked to pay N1 million for his freedom. After much negotiation, the officers withdrew N260,000 from his account through a PoS device. This is daylight robbery in official garb, but sadly, this is what Nigerians live with from their rogue police officers.

In a similar case in Ilorin, two degenerate officers booked out a suspect in detention, took him to a bank in the Kwara State capital, where he was forced to empty his account containing N1.9 million. Not satisfied, they collected another N200,000 from the victim’s family for his bail.

What of a newly-discharged NYSC member? Two officers dehumanised the woman, identified as Towobola, in the course of arresting her boyfriend in the suspect’s house in Ibadan, Oyo State. One of the officers had the temerity to record the sexist interrogation of Towobola on camera. He accused her of being a prostitute and having sex with the suspect and boasted on camera that “he catches suspects like fowls.” These officers are not fit for the regimented discipline of policing.

Read the full article in Punch

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