By Esther Onyegbula
Stakeholders Forum on Police Accountability, SFOPA, Lagos State, has honoured the outgoing Public Relations Officer of the state’s Police Command, Superintendent Bala Elkana, for outstanding performance in police accountability and public relations.
Speaking at the award ceremony held at the Hive, Yaba, Lagos, Okechukwu Nwanguma, Executive Director, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, RULAAC, said the award was in recognition of Bala’s outstanding performance while he was the command Public Relations Officer.
Nwanguma noted that “Bala made his remarkable contribution and left his footprints and it was time to move on to other roles. Our hope is that his successors will sustain and build upon his legacy.”
According to Bose Ironsi of Women Rights and Health Project, WRAHP, “The forum deemed it fit to convene this gathering in honour of SP Bala Elkana to present him an award for his outstanding performance in police accountability and public relations as PPRO Lagos State Police Command.
“The initial reaction was ‘oh we are going to miss this good police officer’. But on the other hand, we realise that his career will not end as PPRO Lagos State.
“I have encountered many police PPROs in the past, across states including those whose understanding of the job of a police PRO is to defend the police at all cost even in clear situations where some officers have exhibited indefensible bad conducts.
“Some also feel reluctant to answer or return phone calls or provide information to the public they serve. They avoid CSOs and regard them as adversaries.
“Our collective assessment is that Bala Elkanan was not any of these. If he wasn’t good, we will not gather here to celebrate his services as PPRO Lagos State.”
Describing Elkana, Felicitas Aigbogun-Brai of Rights Enforcement and Public Law Centre said Bala Elkana was approachable, frank, polite, patient, open to engagements and explanations.
She added that “He was effective in discharging the duties of his office. He set an exemplary template in public relations on which his successor can build upon.”
Receiving the award on behalf of SP Bala Elkana, OC Public Complaint Bureau, ASP Chinwe Anyakudo, thanked Stakeholders Forum on Police Accountability, SFOPA, for their support during his time as the Lagos Police Command spokesperson.