…Eight dismissed, six demoted
By Evelyn Usman and Victor Arjiromanus
A total of 108 policemen attached the Lagos State Police Command have been disciplined over various offenses between January and June. Out of this number, eight were dismissed while six others were demoted .
This was disclosed yesterday by the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Imohimi Edgal, during the official launch of the Stakeholders Forum on Police Accountability and presentation of advocacy materials,organised by Civil Society groups , at the command’s headquarters, Ikeja.
The police boss stated that 58 policemen recorded major entries, six were reprimanded , 28 were given warnings while four of them had extra fatigue.
Five out o the 108 policemen however escaped the axe , as they were discharged over lack of evidences against them.
Edgal said : “The days of police officers receiving slaps for offences are gone. When you perform excellently well, you will receive a CP Commendation Letter. I am not happy punishing any officer, but that does not mean we should over look unprofessional conducts. When I resumed as CP Lagos, I discovered that the public had lost confidence in the police.
“I set up a Citizen Complaint Hot Centre with 10 mobile telephone lines through which people can complain about the wrong of our men. I have received several complaints. There is no way I would know all that my men are doing if no body complained”.
Attributing most of the feat achieved by the command to the Community Policing and Community Partnership concept , Edgal, called on Lagosians to continue to assist the command with information that would assist it to do more, informing that the strength of the command which he put at 28,000 men was not adequate to police the state.
Commending the civil society groups for championing the Stakeholders Forum on Police Accountability, Edgal said such forum would assist the police perform well. To endorse his approval, he nominated Mr Abubakar Aliya, a Superintendent of Police, SP from the X- Squad, to be a member of the forum, with a view to monitoring activities of the forum.
Earlier in his remark, the National Coordinator, Network in Police Reform in Nigeria , NOPRIN and Chairman of the forum, Mr Okechuku Nwagunma, commended Edgal for breaking new grounds in the area of crime control through community engagement, increased police presence in strategic locations across the state to facilitate easy access to citizens to report incidents, as well as get rapid response to distress situations.
He explained that the purpose for the stakeholders forum on Police Accountability was to provide a platform for regular engagement and interaction with the Lagos State Police Command on issues of police accountability.
The platform, he said, also stood as a liaison between the police and the communities, with a view to deepening partnership between the police and the communities they serve, to improve public safety and security.
He said : “ We want to gain deeper understanding of the workings of the various complaints and disciplinary mechanisms within the Lagos State Police Command and the feedback system. We want to have a formalised and structured engagement with them, contribute to strengthening them and promoting police accountability. The serious attention paid to issues of police accountability accounts largely for the improved public perception of the police in Lagos State since the CP assumed duties last year. We want to contribute to the sustenance of this positive public perception and goodwill
“ We intend to conduct public enlightenment on police complaints systems and on citizens’ human rights and responsibilities in their relations with the police. The FORUM will carry out sensitisation to increase citizens’ awareness, not just of their rights, but also of the challenges that the police face in the discharge of their duties and the role they can play to assist the police to serve them better.
“ The FORUM will be in constant liaison with the designated official within the police to ensure that complaints are professionally addressed. This will also reduce the pressure on the CP as less petitions will come to him. Sometimes, these petitions could be distractions.
“ Our overarching aim, therefore, is to promote police accountability which leads to improved police-public relations, positive public perception and cooperation with the police”.