By Segun Ojumatimi
In the December 5, 2014 edition of Vanguard Newspaper, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Kayode Aderanti, pleaded with members of the public to cooperate with the police to fight crime and criminality in the state of excellence.
Indeed, this is a timely clarion call, but may I seize this opportunity to advise the police chief that the plea should rather go to some of his men than the public, because there are many law-abiding and peace-loving members of society, who are always ready and prepared to join hands with the police to rid our society of crime and criminality but are hamstrung by those who have no business in the police.
These bad eggs, who see the police as an instrument of extortion, oppression, intimidation and frivolous vendetta, have forced many law-abiding Nigerians to resort to jungle justice to seek redress, because they believe that our police stations are homes of justice in the negative sense!
My personal experience recently at the Meiran Police Station has lent credence to people’s claim that justice is for the highest bidder at many of our police stations! I “arrested” and took a crime suspect to the station, but he was eventually let go unconditionally, while they turned the pendulum of justice against me because I refused to “play ball!” I told them journalists don’t play such ball.
A letter titled: “With corruption, there are no angels”. published in The Punch of April 4, 2014 (page 20) also attests to the disgustingly itching palms of these anathemas in uniform of the hallowed law enforcement organ.
Much as I agree that it takes only a nation that has decided to recede into the Hobbesian state of nature in this 21st century, to toy with its police, I equally refuse to be persuaded that the rising tide of criminality in the nation will attenuate so long as some unscrupulous members of the police aid and abet the criminal elements in our midst to go scot-free with their notoriety and dastardly acts, just to line their ever-empty pockets!
•Ojumatimi wrote from Lagos.
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