16th July, 2010
MALTREATMENT OF PUNCH JOURNALIST: OSHUN STATE POLICE COMMAND BLAMEWORTHY
Mr. Tunde Odesola, a correspondent of the Punch newspaper, was on Wednesday rough-handled at a checkpoint in Ibokun, Oshun State, by a policeman, Corporal Ijede Emmanuel. The corporal reportedly threatened to shoot Odesola. He made attempts to pull the latter out of the driver's seat. As if he had gone berserk, he also threatened to open fire on other journalists who later arrived at the scene. They were saved by a timely call to the state's Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Clement Akinola.
We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) lay the blame squarely at the feet of the Oshun State Police Command. Nigerians are not safe in the hands of a policeman who behaves more like a thug than a normal homo sapien. Both the rifle and the bullets in Corporal Ijede's hands were procured with tax payers' money, including that of the victim of his unprovoked assault, Mr. Tunde Odesola. We strongly condemn this Gestapo tactics.
MURIC calls on the Nigerian Police to retrain its men. There are too many unscrupulous elements in police uniform. This is not acceptable. A former Minister of Police Affairs once told Nigerians that our policemen could not shoot properly. Only yesterday (Thursday 15th July, 2010), both the former Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Kanu Agabi and the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri, were quoted as describing Nigerian policemen as 'ill-trained'.
Oshun State Police Command must fish out this Bohemian of a cop and parade him before journalists the same way criminals in police net are paraded. This will teach others like him a lesson. Corporal Ijede must face orderly room trial if the State Command is truly prepared to instill discipline in its rank and file. The fact that too many Nigerians have been shot by the police in the past, particularly at roadblocks, makes this incident an eye-opener. We now know how many of those cases of stray bullets hit their victims. Had Odesola been an ordinary citizen without access to the media or to the PPRO, a carnage would have occurred at that checkpoint.
Finally, we remind the Commissioner of Police, Oshun State, that the buck stops at his table this time around. Apart from trying gun-totting, trigger-happy Corporal Ejedi Emmanuel, the Command must apologize to the Oshun State Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists over this incident.
Dr. Is-haq Akintola
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Be just Justice is the soul of peace
No one can deny one and have the other
Neither can violence or naked force bring lasting peace