By Moses Omorogieva
Eight police officers in Lagos have been dismissed over “very serious criminal offences”, while six others were demoted in ranks, the state commissioner, Mr Imohimi Edgal said.
Edgal, also said that 108 officers were disciplined for various offences from January to July, 2018 in the Lagos State Command.
He made the disclosure at a Stakeholders’ Forum on “Police Accountability and Presentation of Advocacy Materials at the command’s headquarters, Ikeja.
The police chief said that 58 other officers recorded major entries, six officers reprimanded, 28 officers got warning, four officers had extra fatigue, while five others were discharged for lack of evidences against them.
“The days of police officers receiving slaps on the wrist for offences are gone. When you performed excellently well, you will receive a CP’s Commendation Letter.
“I am not happy punishing any officer, but that does not mean we should overlook unprofessional conducts. When I resumed as CP Lagos, I discovered that the public had lost confidence in the police.
“I set up a Citizen Complaint Hot Centre with 10 mobile phone lines through which people can complain about the wrongs of our men. I have received many complaints.
“However, there is no way I would know all that my men are doing if nobody complained,” he said.
Edgal called on people in Lagos to continue to assist the police with information and other assistance, stressing that the 28,000 officers and men in Lagos were inadequate to police the state.
According to him, community policing in the state is working as it had reduced crimes by 35 per cent.
Commending the forum organised by the civil society groups, he said that it would also assist the police to perform better.
Edgal, while appointing a senior police officer, SP Abubakar Aliyah from the X-Squad, as member of the forum, promised to monitor the activities of the forum,
Mr Okechukwu Nwanguma, the National Coordinator, Network For Police Reform In Nigeria (NOPRIN) and Chairman of the forum, spoke on “Toward Sustained Community Partnership with the Lagos State Police”.
Nwanguma said that the forum was formed with a view to have regular engagement and interaction with the Lagos State Police Command on issues of police accountability.
“The platform is to stand as a liaison between the police and the communities.
“This is with a view to deepening partnership between the police and the communities they serve and to improve public safety and security.
“We want to gain deeper understanding of the workings of the various complaints and disciplinary mechanisms within the Lagos State Police Command and the feedback system.
“We want to have a formalised and structured engagement with them, contribute to strengthening them and promoting police accountability,” he said.
Nwanguma commended Edgal for his human rights record, noting that he was one of the best commissioners in the country with good human rights police command.
The Head of Monitoring, National Human Rights Commission, South-West, Mrs Nneka Anigbo, said that the launch of the forum was a welcome development.
Anigbo said the commission would support the forum to succeed, and commended the CP for a job well done in the state.
The President of Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN), Mr Odita Sunday, praised the initiative behind the forum, urging Edgal to maintain the high level of crime fighting.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that one of the highlights of the launch included the presentation of some advocacy materials by Nwanguma and Mrs Bose Iro Ndu of Women’s Rights and Health Project