The police in Imo State said they have dismissed seven officers over alleged extortion in the state. The police spokesperson in the state, Michael Abattam, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.
While many commend this as a brilliant move to sanitize the sordid image of the police, others see it as playing to the gallery, especially when it is common knowledge that corruption in the agency has taken the garb of an incurable lifestyle.
Mr Abattam, a chief superintendent of police, said the dismissal of the officers followed a series of complaints to the Commissioner of Police in Imo State against the officers by some residents.
The police spokesperson said the complainants accused some police officers of brutality, harassment, extortion and illegal checking of their mobile phones.
He said the offences were allegedly committed by the officers in “fragrant disobedience” to the directives by Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali (IGP).
Mr Abbattam gave the names of the dismissed officers as Chibuzo Ohakim, Finian Irome, George Osueke and Kelechi Onuegbu.
Others are Nwagoro Isdore, Stephen Nwadike and Plastidus Ihemtuge.
The police spokesperson said the officers were arrested on 8 November at a bank in Umuahia, Abia State, South-east Nigeria, while they were allegedly working outside their jurisdiction and conspiring to extort an un-identified “innocent” resident.
“They were defaulted, tried and found guilty (by police authorities) of the charges levelled against them, thus were summarily dismissed and charged to Magistrate Court, Owerri with charge sheet number no: OW/746C/2022,” he said.
Ahmed Barde, the commissioner of police in the state, Mr Abattam said, has consequently directed all area commanders, heads of departments, divisional police officers and tactical teams’ commanders of various police units in the state to ensure officers under them do not commit such offences.
Mr Barde said officers found guilty or complicit in such offences would face disciplinary actions.
The police commissioner also directed officers in-charge of his (the commissioner’s) Monitoring Unit and the IGP’s X-Squad Unit to commence “high level monitoring” of police officers within and outside the metropolis to prevent any “unprofessional” conduct by them.
“Be professional and uphold international standard best practices in the discharge of your duty,” he warned police officers.
He urged residents of the state to “conduct themselves properly at all times” during their encounters with officers to avoid “infractions” which may result in their prosecution.
“Use the command’s emergency control room numbers in times of distress or whenever you are being harassed by any member of the Nigeria Police Force for quick intervention,” Mr Barde told the residents.