The police officers captured on a video brutalising a commercial motorcyclist in the Abule Egba area of Lagos have been identified and “detained.”
The police spokesperson, Muyiwa Adejobi, made this known on PREMIUM TIMES Twitter Spaces on Wednesday. He said he was informed of their arrest by the Lagos police commissioner.
He spoke on the programme, which, on Wednesday evening, focussed on “Nigerian police officers as perpetrators, victims of harassment.”
The viral video shared on Twitter on Wednesday showed the moment three police officers were assaulting the young man.
While one of them hit him with what appeared to be a metal rod, another pushed him to forcefully take away his motorcycle.
One of the police officers rode the motorcycle away while the others followed behind in a tricycle, leaving the young man injured and bleeding.
The police spokesperson said the law allows a police officer to use “ minimal force” when justifiable.
“The policemen were not using their police batons. If they had used a police baton on this man to suppress him, to an extent, it is still justifiable. But is it enough for them to even cause injury to this man?”
Mr Adejobi said he noticed that the motorcyclist was hit with a “heavy metal.”
He said the officers acted unprofessionally, adding that police batons, teasers, and pepper spray are used to apply force.
He said as the “image manager” of the police, on a daily basis, he is faced with issues bordering on non-professionalism, brutality, and high-handedness.
Speaking about the root cause of the police harassment and brutality, he said it was a reflection of “social dislocation” that stems from the recruitment process.
“Starting from the recruitment, those we believe are to help us screen the people still betray the people,” he said.
“When you have people (traditional rulers, local government chairman, etc.) to recommend applicants to us, people that are revered in the society that are expected to recommend people to us still betray us by giving us bad elements in the society…I call them the condemned one to join the police
He said they found it “pathetic” that there are still bad eggs in the police.
Mr Adejobi said a police officer is expected to be “above board, above suspicion, to be angels to the people.”
He said he feels sad when “ugly cases” sprang up, adding that he handles 80 complaints daily.
Speaking on harassment of police officers, he advised that civilians should not take laws into their hands.
“The best thing you can do is to report such a person to the police,” he said.
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“Assuming a policeman beats you up in uniform, you don’t retaliate by beating the policeman. Because it is when you beat the policeman that they will say you have run afoul of the law. The law shall take the course; you will face the music.
“If a policeman misbehaves, it is not enough to beat a policeman in uniform or to brutalise a policeman.”
The spokesperson said there were about six channels where citizens could make such complaints.
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