Over one week after PREMIUM TIMES reported how police officers were caught collecting bribes along Ibadan-Ife expressway, the police authorities are yet to publicly identify the officers or punish them.
Last Friday, this paper published a two-minute video clip of police officers on the road, extorting motorists. The video showed policemen at four different roadblocks involved in the bribes.
In a telephone interview with this correspondent last Saturday, the police spokesperson, Frank Mba, justified the police inaction.
“You have already done your publication by the time I saw it. What does my comment do? Whatever I say does not mean anything.”
PREMIUM TIMES gave the spokesperson access to the video before it was published. Even then, he refused to comment.
When quizzed on whether the police will investigate the case or not, he said, “We can only do the bit we can. Even if I do all my best and you consider my best not good enough, I can’t change your mindset. If you don’t like the police, even if I recover your mother, your vehicle or stop your house from being burnt, it does not change attitude.”
The spokesperson suggested the police was not keen on investigating the corrupt police officials. This comes at a time the police topped the list of corrupt institutions, according to a recent report. According to Transparency International, the police, parliament, judiciary and the executive arm were ranked as the most corrupt institutions in Nigeria.
Responding to this, Mr Mba said; “I won’t kill myself because I want you to make you like me.”
He declined to clarify his statements and requested that this reporter send the link to the published story to him.
A week after that was sent, he is yet to respond.
A campaigner against police brutality and the national coordinator of TakeItBack movement, Sanyaolu Juwon, attributed corruption in the system to the poor training and welfare of the officers.
“It all starts with the welfare of the police. When we protest against extra-judicial killing, brutality, bribery and reformation of police, we also consider the police colleges because that is where these officers come from.
“That place is not even okay for animals, not to talk of humans. The training of the police should be given priority as well. Nigerian police are the least (trained) compared to some other countries.
“Also, it boils down to the salaries of these officers. (If) you cannot pay your officers well, then things like these are inevitable.”
He, however, called for disciplinary action against the corrupt officers, saying “there is no justification for receiving bribes.”
“Any officer collecting bribe should be brought to book,” the activist stated.
Other Nigerians react
Since the release of the video, several Nigerians on social media platforms have clamoured for the reformation of the police force.
On Twitter, Eze Nnabuike @ Olinwuzo wrote:
“@PoliceNG and kidnappers are the same people, attacking innocent unarmed people.”
@PoliceNG and kidnappers are the same people, attacking innocent unarmed people.
— Eze Nnabuike (@olinwuzo) July 12, 2019
“Tragic! After all the allowances and lots more. We need to reform the police. I know the good ones still exist, just that the bad ones out number the good ones. We will get there with time,” Kamal Abubakar posted on Facebook
Another Facebook user, Oladele Oseni, narrated his experience in the comment section.
“I once had an encounter with them while carrying planks to my house. They stopped the driver n ask for his particulars and next was ‘your money is #5000’. I now asked the most senior, an ASP, whether carrying planks amounted to terrorism. He kept mute immediately and handed the papers to me free of charge knowing fully well that this one knows them well. Most of the commercial drivers don’t know their dept in the police.”
History of punishment
The police have in the recent past punished officers found guilty of collecting bribes.
In October 2017, the police announced that it sanctioned 20 personnel involved in corruption between January 2016 and June 2017 in four states.
However, since the appointment of Abubakar Adamu as the police inspector-general in January, no announcement has been made of the police punishing any officer for collecting bribe.