IGP, take note
This is for the attention of the Inspector General of Police. Except you have issued a sure-word to police officers to illegally misconduct themselves under your watch in which case, lawlessness may be let loose across the board—it has become of national urgency that you call your men to order immediately.
On August 5, 2019, unharmed Nigerians organised themselves into a very peaceful assembly to protest against government policies in many parts of Nigeria under the Revolution Now protest. Indeed, the protest, which received widespread media coverage, went on smoothly without any fracas, any violence, or record casualties until officers of your command stormed the scene to cause disorder.
As if in a war zone, police officers mobilised themselves into the scene of protest in their thousands; they threw canister of tear gas everywhere, greatly brutalized demonstrators and even went to the extreme to drag harmless Nigerians on bare floor in the most dehumanizing manner.
Records and reports of these awry scenes are there in the Nigerian media archive as they remain facts which are incontrovertible. However, it is quite important that I draw your attention to specific particulars of illegality and gross misconduct (of such degree that human words cannot describe) which your officers have perpetrated in the following manner.
A 70-year-old elderly woman at Osogbo, Osun State Nigeria, who also is a hawker and goes by the name Sariyu Akanmu, was inflicted with great physical harm by police officers for partaking in the lawful protest. The officers hit the old with the butt of gun; kicked her several times, dragged her on the floor and then threw her into a police van afterwards.
In Lagos, three journalists were mercilessly beaten; the clam down on journalists in Lagos was quite deliberate because as soon as the victims identified themselves as journalists, your officers began the beating party. The journalists were not only severely beaten; they were further detained at the Panti Police Station, where they spent the night and received their worst treatments. In addition,six other Nigerian citizens were arrested, brutalized and detained bringing the number to nine.
However, the most disappointing trend, similar to what happened in Osogbo, Osun State is the issue of illegally obtaining citizen’s possessions by your officers. Two journalists in Lagos – Elias Ozikpu and Banwo Olagookun’s phones were collected by your officers upon arrest. When granted bail, police officers did not return the journalists’ phones. And they not been returned till date, neither has the elderly woman in Osogbo, Osun State been able to find her money.
Under the 1999 Constitution (as amended); which I should believe you are conversant with (because of your position) and with which Nigeria is governed, certain inalienable rights accrue to every Nigerian. Those rights which are guaranteed under sections 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45 and 46 of the Constitution are actually meant to be protected by officers of your establishment. During awful security conditions, citizens should expect your intervention.
However, the reverse has been the case. In recent times, some of your unguided officers have indiscriminately killed innocent Nigerians, battered citizens’ self esteem, aided illegality and have exhibited behaviors unworthy of a uniformed man.
Against the foregoing, it may be helpful to caution your officers never to assault or intimidate lawful protesters again. Further, I advise you to intervene and ensure the erring officers are dealt with and the valuables which they illegally collected are returned forthwith, otherwise we shall not hesitate to mobilize the full force of law in court.
Tope Akinyode, Esq.