The Lagos State Police Command said it has arrested the policemen attached to the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences Enforcement Unit seen on viral video destroying merchants’ properties who did not comply to Lagos State government directives for closure of shops.
The Lagos Police Public Relations Officers, DSP Bala Elkana, said policemen involved in the unprofessional conduct had been arrested and subjected to internal disciplinary measures.
He said, “The Commissioner of Police Lagos State Command, CP Hakeem Odumosu, is saddened with the apparent unprofessional conduct exhibited by some police officers identified in a trending video and has ordered their immediate arrest and investigation.
“They are currently subjected to internal disciplinary proceedings known as orderly room trial at the Provost Department, State Command Headquarters, Ikeja, to serve as a deterrent to others. Their conduct is totally condemned as it fell short of our professional standards and rules of engagement. Police officers involved in the enforcement of restriction orders across the state are further warned to exercise their discretionary powers with utmost professionalism, compassion and respect for the rights of the citizens.”
Gbenga Omotoso, Lagos State Commissioner for Information, condemned the action, calling for an urgent apology to the affected shop owners.
He said, “I have seen the video and they are members of the Lagos Task Force. Personally, I have said the action was not good. It is condemnable and we are discussing with our people to be more civil in enforcing these orders. Personally, I am recommending that they should apologise to those people.”
Recall that because of Coronavirus, the government had restricted movements including ordering closure of business premises, except for those engaged in essential services.
The operatives in the video were seen destroying goods at a bar and a phone accessory store at an unspecified location in the state.
In the one-minute viral video, about six armed task force men led by a hooded senior officer disrupted two lock-up shops, selling drinks and phone accessories.
While some of them pulled down crates of bottles at the bar, others destroyed accessories displayed on the door.
The team leader, wearing a vest with the inscription ‘Tango-1, Task Force,’ smashed a glass containing some items at the accessory shop.
In the background, the policemen ordered three men believed to have visited the bar to lie on the floor.
The action of the operatives has attracted criticism, with people condemning the mode of enforcing the ban order.
“The worst thing is to send Nigerian Police to enforce laws they won’t have the opportunity of collecting bribes. They will overdo the job. Look at how they’re causing more economic hardship to the people. You’ve driven the people inside. Leave their goods,” said, Chizoba Agu, an angry Nigerian who was bitter over the issue.
MAURICE OGU @cojmaurice
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