By Godfrey Bivbere
If it had happened to a civilian, it would have been seen as the normal police brutality but, when Police officers turn on their own, it becomes a case of dog eat dog. This was exactly the situation last Friday when three regular policemen on uniform, publicly molested their uniformed mobile colleague, giving him the beating of his life in front of the Lagos State University (LASU), and in the presence of a crowd of about 30 people who watched in disbelief.
Crime Alert was among members of the public that watched the disgraceful scenario while sitting in front of a commercial bus with another policeman. The vehicle stopped and both the mobile policeman and our Correspondent got out to see exactly what was happening while the vehicle waited for the officer.
On getting to the scene, the mobile policeman was seen, pinned to the ground inside the gutter at the middle of the expressway by two regular police officers while the third held him by his trousers the way they normally hold on to civilians or suspects. They alleged he was involved in escorting a vehicle without the necessary papers which is illegal in the Police Force.
Efforts by the officer in the commercial bus to make peace was rebuffed by the Police team from Ojo who insisted that the mobile man, who was still on the ground, must go with them to the station. Exasperated with the continued insistence of the policemen, the mobile man that came to plead for his colleague ran back to the waiting commercial bus and drove off.
Meanwhile, his colleague who was being manhandled by the policemen repeatedly explained that he was only given a lift by a van driver from mile2 as he was on his way to Ajangbade where he lives. But his fellow policemen would have none of it. The team from Ojo police station led by an Assistant Superintendent said to be the provost at the station, ordered his men to get the mobile policeman into the waiting patrol vehicle.
In their effort to get him into the patrol vehicle, he was not only manhandled, but thrown into a nearby gutter (luckily for him there was no muddy water in the gutter). His uniform was torn. Efforts to assuage the rampaging Policemen by other mobile police officers posted to guard the gate of LASU following the recent protest that rocked the area, failed.
As the show of shame continued, the number of regular policemen, their mobile counterparts and on lookers grew. Even pleas from members of the public watching the incident fell on deaf ears. Some of the mobile policemen from LASU gate came and told the ASP that the O/C at the gate said they should bring the officer to him but the ASP and his men insisted it was either their station or nothing.
As a result of the kind of treatment meted out on their colleague, other mobile policemen were becoming agitated and argument was beginning to arise amongst both parties when one of the regular police officers noticed our correspondent standing by, watching the scene.
The police officer walked over to our man and seized his phone alleging that he was recording the show of shame. At this stage, the police officers were gearing up to descend on our reporter but for the quick intervention of the mobile policemen.
In fact, the Policemen from Ojo were forcefully dragging our correspondent into their waiting patrol van but he insisted he would get to the station on his own and the officers left with his phone to the station. It took the intervention of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of the station, M.A. Yusuf for the phone to be released to our man after they confirmed it was not used for any form of recording.
The DPO pleaded for understanding, noting that the officer involved had not left the station for about four days adding that his action may be as a result of stress that he was passing through.