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Chief Superintendent of Police, Ifedolapo Badmus is the Police Public Relations Officer, Zone 2, comprising Ogun and Lagos States. The amiable Force information officer is dogged in action but subtle in approach. Her sterling quality at work alongside her fashion-sense had projected her in a beam light through social media interactions, collaboration with Nigerian stars to fight crime and others. She has also been in the forefront of correcting the anomaly stemming from the over flooded social media hype on a Police unit called ‘Special Anti-Robbery Squad’ SARS. CSP Badmus who just returned from a work visit in China speaks on the outcome of the visit and other issues. What was the trip all about? Our trip to China was on a work visit. It is cultural exchange between China and Nigeria to understudy each others security matters, and to foster diplomatic ties we have with China. It was quite an enriching one that explored some technology advancement in combating crime in this new age. China is a county we have diplomatic ties with. Their people are all over Nigeria and our people live and trade there also. What these suggest to us is that we have common gound to relate diplomatically. Our visit is also to see what we have in common culturally and see how we can build upon it for a better relationship. We also checked their policing pattern and see what we can learn from them in terms of handling peculiar cases. It is noticeable that the Nigeria Police are doing well and working hard to rebrand. But with all the security measures on ground, crime seem to be on increase in the country, why is it so? Well, if I may ask, have you ever seen a country that is crime free? I don’t think there is any community or nation that is without crime. Crime, per se, is categorized. We have nonviolent and more violent ones. In Nigeria we are still having our crime challenges as a country just like any other country in the world. All security agencies in Nigeria including the police are working hard to ensure that the country is safe as the case may be. At the same time, we will be much unbiased to say that the police are doing very well. Although, people might want to differ with that assertion, but they would not understand the deeper impact police is making. The Nigerian Police Force has never left the country for a second. It will be a wild dream to see how the country can function without the agency. That’s why the law enforcement agency cannot go on strike. Our duty is very critical and demanding. It is not like any other organization that can embark on industrial action to press their demand from authority. I want to agree with you that the Police are doing well but the issue is tilted in terms of equipping the force with modern day technology and sophisticated gadgets to combat emerging crime. We are not there yet. Like I told you, I just came back from China; you can imagine the technology at work there. I hope sooner, we will get there when Police will be given everything needed to work in this era of sophisticated crime too. Well, we have started and we are getting there. At least before now, you can easily hear that Police cannot unravel crimes. But this day, there is no crisis or case that the Police cannot unravel even with speed that surpasses your expectation. At least you can attest to that with the recent armed robbery, kidnapping and murder cases that was unraveled swiftly in Lagos. That’s to tell you that we are on the right track. Despite all these, it is not yet enough. Nigerian Police still need more support from the public. You are the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Zone 2, covering Ogun and Lagos States . Can you in simple terms define the role of the Police in its relationship with the citizenry? The Police all over the world were established to provide security for the citizenry. They are the protector of the people and by this; I would say it is one organization by necessity is desired by every society. What this portends is that it is an organisation no nation can do without. They are the true organization that belongs to the people and also ensure that people get adequate safety all time: an organisation that people can have confidence and trust. But do you think that the Nigerian public has trusted their Police enough? Well, I am not the public. I am a Police Officer and my comments are based on my understanding as a serving officer. To some extent, I would rather throw the question back to you ” to what extent has the public trusted the Nigeria Police’. I have been able to have conversation with many people on diverse opinion concerning what they think about the Police. Some would say, the Nigeria Police is trying, and would add that there’s no Police formation in the world that can withstand them in action. Literary, it mean in a simple analysis of manual and automatic car. When you are in a manual car, you need to apply several methods to get your car moving, while with automatic, you just kick your car then zoom off. By these, they are saying, they pity Nigeria Police because they are operating manual policing, while in abroad, it is automatic because everything is at their reach. This is why when an average Nigeria Policeman travels on foreign mission assignment; he comes back with medal of honours and various accomplishments because they combine the instinct of manual and automatic policing to excel. Then, when he comes back home, it now seem he is not performing well. This can somehow be attributed to non-availability of such automatic gadgets obtainable abroad. With what I have said so far, I leave to you to conclude what anyone in the country should think about Nigeria Police. Also, the Police we have now like you know are operating under the condition set by the Military regime era. I would tell you that the long rule of the military affected effective policing in the country. This is because, the country then failed to provide necessary training for the force. Effective policing was relegated while the Military was prioritized in terms of adequate welfare. So when we had democracy, the Police regained their position but before then, the force has lost touch of many things. We have to start afresh. If everything that needed to be fixed is done, I bet you, we will have the dream Police everyone desires without bias. The Nigeria Police Force have Operatives that work 24 hours daily as a result of the nature of our environment and the kind of people we are. I will tell anyone that doesn’t trust Nigeria Police to verify issues before running into conclusion. Have you taken notice of the Lagos State special unit called the Rapid Respond Squad (RRS Police) in Lagos? Everyone is talking about them, saying how nice they are: that they don’t operate like Nigeria Police they know. I tell you, these men are still the normal Nigeria Police you have. The only thing that makes them look and act differently is because of the Lagos State Police Trust Fund that powers them. The men at that department called RRS have everything to work with. All the facilities including logistics are donated by the Trust Fund. That’s what I am talking about. This is made possible by a State Trust Fund. If we can have such trust fund in the Federal department, the change will come fast. Another vital challenge is the issue of welfare. You don’t send a man an errand with empty stomach. The force needs adequate attention because their kind of duty is risky. Bringing it back home, there’s has been a public outcry about the activities of Special Anti-Robbery Squad called (SARS). Well, the issue of this squad called ‘Special Anti-Robbery Squad’ SARS and its operational model has been over flooded basically on the social media platform. The #EndSARS# started with some group of individuals that due to their own personal experience or encounter with the operation, seeing it from a peculiar perspective, started the campaign. They propelled it with social media, escalating the whole issue negatively. For us to understand better, what’s supposed to be their duty? From the name, it is simple: ‘Special Anti-Robbery Squad’. Their duty is to combat violent crime in the society. So far, they are doing what is expected of them and also doing it well. They have been able to combat serious crimes. At least in the Lagos and Ogun States zone that I cover, there are notable incidents they successfully tackled. There’s this notorious criminal called TK in Lagos who terrorised banks and killed people around 2015 and thereabout. His reign of terror was very fierce. The SARS unit were able to bring him down. Since then, bank robbery has reduced under SARS watchful eyes. Another one was the case of Evans the kidnapper and the kidnapping era. With all his sophisticated model of operation, SARS subdued him and others. Now, with all these laudable deeds by SARS, no one has come up to say, improve SARS and its personnel. Nobody had also brought up #ThankyouSARS# campaign, but for a little blunder which we are also fighting to curtail within the organization, everyone is screaming ‘EndSARS.’ There are other crimes they are preventing from happening proactively. No one is talking about that. We are not saying that there are no issues within, but the truth is that social media users have over hyped the problem. All contentious issues are being addressed appropriately. A video trended on social media showing SARS over-bearing action towards a man on the street who resisted arrest. What’s your opinion? Yes, I saw that video. In my own opinion, that was uncalled for, especially the use of iron rod on someone. I felt it is not good. We are investigating the case. But you know, the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo said, “it is only a madman that argues with a man carrying a gun”, because in any such situation, what should be at the back of your mind is safety. Why going confrontational. No matter how little the offence, you don’t engage in a violent confrontation with a Policeman. If a Policeman stops you, whether you are right or wrong, for safety of your life, cooperate first. You can’t prove any cogent point in such a situation. Only a wise man can argue his way out in a proper manner. Unruly behaviour in the presence of a Policeman is assumed offense. In such a situation, I advise that you remain wise and live to fight through legal means than be killed. If you lose your life, even when you are innocent, the life can’t come back. People may eventually rise against it and consequently, the officers involved will be dismissed, but cannot bring back life. So, the only option is to be wise. Right now, we are cautioning the men to behave appropriately because their duty is to protect the public. Funnily, the social media has made a lot of people to think that Policeman is no more a friend. It is equally sad to note that people sit in their house, cook up stories of SARS harassment and post it online without proper evidence. It is happening and some are using it to propel the #EndSARS campaign. For that particular video, the office is analysing it. Information on true situation will eventually come out. I posted my phone number on the social media asking anyone with vital information to reach me, but till now, no one has come up, rather, what I see is flashes without proper call. We should change as a people. How should the citizenry believe in the Police now? We are aware that bad news sell faster than good news. People have been feigning SARS attack on the social media. I am a Zonal Public Relations Officer of the Force and I have noticed that people deforms information even when there is no confrontation at all. Most people somehow, do this to seek relevance on the social media. Even some celebrities are doing it. The issue has spiraled to the other members of the Police Force: when a normal Policeman did anything uncalled for, they tag it SARS. This kind of act is sending a negative picture to the international community about Nigeria Police. We don’t have any other country other than Nigeria, and whatever we do reflects on us a people. The negative effects rub off on us too as Policemen. When we are outside the country, they see us as corrupt officers due to social media postings. The yahoo boys are big issue in abroad too. Every young Nigerian travelling abroad is seen as a potential yahoo boy except proven wrong. This is one of the things SARS is working hard to curtail as a mandate. I think we should be more concern on how we behave in this country, to make the work of Police less cumbersome. I have spoken to stakeholders in this #Endsars# campaign group, advising them that there are ways and manners the goal can be achieved without using social media platform to escalate the issue. SARS integrity has been projected in a negative form abroad, and even some people are afraid to visit home with the insinuation that SARS will attack them. The leadership of the Zone 2 here is not sleeping at all. We are making everything possible to see that our men conform to international best practice in combating crime. We implore members of the public to come forward and report violation of human rights by the Police or SARS to us. Do not walk away and say it is one of those things. The Force is reforming and that’s one of the ways of reenacting public trust between the Police and citizenry. Follow proper channels and get justice. (Visited 61 times, 33 visits today)

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Princewill Aghimien is the owner of 9jaskitz, He is an Entrepreneur,a Business Analyst, a Digital Media Marketer, and a Music Consultant.

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