…Eemerges first recipient of CFC Anti- Corruption Champion award.
By Evelyn Usman
As the world marked Anti- Corruption day yesterday, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Imohimi Edgal, charged officers and men of the command to extol self discipline and ethical standards as virtues that would help them resist the temptation of being corrupt policemen.
He gave the charge at an event organised by the Centre for Change group in commemoration of the Anti- Corruption Day, at Omole , Phase 1, Lagos, where he was conferred with the Anti- Corruption Champion award.
Lamenting that corruption was a fundamental problem in the Nigeria Police, Edgal stated that the command under his watch had trained 5,850 policemen in that regard, where the need for self discipline and integrity was stressed.
He said another proactive measure to fight the scourge of corruption was the adoption of the Community Policing and Community Safety partnership, where he charged Lagosians at the various town hall meetings to report any untoward action of policemen to him through designated telephone lines.
The approach according to him, had reduced complaints from Lagosians, with the arrest of 233 policemen over various alleged corrupt practices, between September last year till date, out of which 16 were dismissed , one was charged to court and the rest given different types of punishment ranging from reduction in rank and minor entries.
Noting that the strategy was aimed at rebuilding the trust of the public , Edgal , was however quick to point out that there were still several good policemen who were working to ensure peace, security and safety in their respective communities.
The command boss said: “ Following the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, marching order all CPs to go to the states and ensure that we do everything humanly possible to stamp out corruption, which is one of the fundamental problems of the police, I hit the ground rolling by partnering with members of the public through the town hall meetings. It is important to note that corruption does not relate only to collecting bribe, it also includes using your official position to give yourself or any other person undue advantage.
“During the town hall meetings, one constant complaint I observed was the issue of indiscipline of my men and the issue of corruption. What I did was to set up the Citizens Complaint Centre at Alausa and gave out ten numbers to Lagosians to call and lodge complaints regarding any issue on corruption.
“I am glad to say that through that initiative, we have drastically reduced complaints about policemen involvement in corrupt practices. I believe if the fight against corruption is a collective responsibility , police should be at the forefront of fighting for that responsibility. Since we have adopted community policing and community safety partnership as the official policing philosophy of the command, it is pertinent for us to rebuild trust so as to regain the confidence of the people.”
While appreciating the Centre for Change for the honour, Edgal said it also came with a challenge for him to put in more effort in the fight against corruption.
Earlier in her remark, the President, Centre for Change, Dr. Joe Okie-Odumakin, who lamented that the country was bleeding owing to corruption, urged every Nigerian to be a crusader of fight against corruption.
“Today is important to us because it is Anti-Corruption day and we don’t have any other country except Nigeria. But Nigeria is bleeding under the heavyweight of corruption. It’s either we kill corruption or corruption kills us. It is also certain that the Police as an institution remains the lubricant to fight against corruption in Nigeria.
“To ensure we fight this cancer, there should be no blame game, that is the reason for the synergy between the Centre for Change and the Police, EFCC and ICPC.
” It is easy for us to continue to talk about corruption, we must act to ensure that we fight that cancer called corruption. More so, tackling corruption is a collective responsibility. At the Centre for Change, we believe it is less expensive to prevent corruption than fighting it.
“It is not really power that corrupts people, people themselves are the ones that corrupt power. We want our youths to realize that they are the leaders of today and tomorrow. Therefore, their duty is to challenge corruption. And for the political players, they must always endeavor to live by the rules of the game. If Nigeria must in the same pedestrian with other countries, then, we should all speak against corruption “, she said.
Revealing that it was the first time the group would announce anyone as the Anti Corruption champion, she explained that the choice of CP Edgal’s was reached after a painstaking monitoring of his track record since he assumed office as the CP Lagos State Police Command.