We will no longer tolerate intimidation, extortion – Police boss warns officers
An Assistant Inspector-General of Police Benjamin Okolo, has warned that the Force will henceforth not tolerate any act of overzealousness, extortion, intimidation and harassment of innocent citizens.
Okolo, who is in charge of Zone 16, Yenegoa, Bayelsa state, spoke on Tuesday when he paid a familiarisation visit to the Rivers state Police command in Port Harcourt.
The AIG said police would not allow operatives to convert their checkpoints to an extortion centre instead of a place to combat crimes.
He said: “I mentioned earlier that some of us are not behaving well and because of those ones we need to remind ourselves that acts of harassment and overzealousness, intimidation, incivility to members of the public, to mention a few would not be tolerated moving forward.
“We need to be mindful of the usefulness and effectiveness of our checkpoints, we will ensure that those checkpoints are not for extortion purposes, the essence of checkpoints is to help us combat crime, this would be emphasized and we will ensure that we enforce to the extent that those who are remaining recalcitrant will be brought to book.
“Catching armed robbers is secondary, so if make the area calm you have performed excellently, if you are arresting those who have committed crimes, you have equally performed, in both ways this command has done very well and somebody who has done well the next thing is do more.
The IG is not unmindful of your successes and achievements, please keep it up.”
Okolo applauded the Rivers state Police command for its successes and achievements insisting that the police must uphold human dignity in the course of their duties.
He said: “This command is performing very well. On the face value I have seen this command to be very neat. Secondly the officers turned out very neatly. It is commendable. They say cleanliness is next to godliness, I believe that your hearts are in the way your outward appearance portrays, I want to commend your resilience.
“We may have one or two people, three, four, a few that have sworn that Nigeria Police force will always be portrayed in bad light, we will not allow that, the IG says and I convey his message to you please uphold the dignity, human rights, ensure that you work within the confines of the rules.
“The new strategy of the IG is aimed at achieving operational successes and regaining public trust. We will not have trust of the members of the public if we mistreat them, before you pinch anybody, pinch yourself, we are members of the society.
“I don’t think there is anybody who is from space or any other place, we were first born, went to school before we become officers, so at one time we were civilians isn’t it, so lets treat people with dignity so we don’t lose public trust.”
Earlier, the Commissioner of Police, Rivers state, Emeka Nwonyi who thanked the AIG for the visit, noted that the command was lacking basic riot fighting equipment.
He said: “The command is also faced with a lot of challenges but not limited to these, shortage of arms and ammunition, shortage of anti-riot equipment such as smoke cartridges, smoke grenades, ballistic helmets, riot gunners, smoke pistols.
He said the command also lacked armored personnel carriers (APCs), gunboats and marine police equipment.
He listed others as inadequate number of patrol vehicles, shortage of barrack accommodation for men and women of the command and called on the AIG to address the challenges.