In a recent development, the police officers captured on video brutally assaulting a commercial motorcyclist in the Abule Egba area of Lagos have been identified and subsequently detained. The Lagos police commissioner informed the police spokesperson, Muyiwa Adejobi, of their arrest, who shared this information during a discussion on “Nigerian police officers as perpetrators and victims of harassment” on PREMIUM TIMES Twitter Spaces.
The disturbing viral video, which circulated on Twitter, depicted three police officers attacking the young motorcyclist. While one officer struck him with what appeared to be a metal rod, another forcefully confiscated his motorcycle. Subsequently, one of the officers rode off on the motorcycle, while the rest followed in a tricycle, leaving the injured motorcyclist bleeding.
Regarding the incident, the police spokesperson highlighted that the law allows police officers to use “minimal force” when justified. He emphasized that the officers in question were not employing their police batons, which, if used, would still have been partially justifiable. He expressed concern that the motorcyclist had been struck with a “heavy metal” object, which goes beyond the acceptable level of force.
Adejobi acknowledged the unprofessional conduct of the officers and clarified that police batons, teasers, and pepper spray are the approved means for applying force.
“They have been detained, I’m saying it now. I got the video of the Abule Egba incident on my WhatsApp from the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, and when he sends material to me like that, I know what it means,” he said during the webinar.
He said the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, had already detained the men without even waiting for any order, saying the CP, being a thoroughbred officer, knew what to do.
“We don’t waste time when our men misbehave,” Adejobi added.
Speaking about the underlying causes of police harassment and brutality, he attributed it to a “social dislocation” originating from the recruitment process. Adejobi lamented the betrayal of trust by individuals, including traditional rulers and local government chairmen, who recommend applicants to the police force. He referred to these undesirable individuals as “the condemned ones” infiltrating the police ranks. As the police’s “image manager,” Adejobi admitted facing daily challenges related to unprofessionalism, brutality, and excessive use of force.
Regarding incidents involving the harassment of police officers, Adejobi advised civilians not to take the law into their own hands. Instead, he encouraged reporting such cases to the police through the six available channels for complaints.
“The best thing you can do is to report such a person to the police,” he said.
“Assuming a policeman beats you up in uniform, you don’t retaliate by beating the policeman. Because it is when you beat the policeman that they will say you have run afoul of the law. The law shall take the course; you will face the music.
“If a policeman misbehaves, it is not enough to beat a policeman in uniform or to brutalise a policeman.”
As the investigation progresses, the detained officers will be subject to legal proceedings, and the authorities are committed to addressing the issue and ensuring justice is served.