Port Harcourt – Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa Police Command, CP Mike Okoli has called on Nigerians to be cautious when taking pictures and video of police officers brutalizing their victim.
Okoli gave the advice in Port Harcourt on Friday while receiving award as ‘Most Active’ commissioner of police in South South, serving as CP, Bayelsa Police Command.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the award was organised by the Bosinde Araikpe Global Peace Initiative (BAGPI) for police officers who distinguished themselves while carrying out their duty.
Other awardees, includes, SP Ojo Lawrence, honoured for building a police station in Port Harcourt; ACP Ibrahim Bakori, Officer of the Year in Bayelsa and DCP Bassey Ewah, Officer of the Year in Rivers, among others.
Okoli said thou Nigerians have the right to express themselves freely but that they need to apply wisdom when taking visual evidence of sleazy police officers.
He said: “For example, if a person is taking photographs or videoing an officer where the officer is performing his duty excellently, I am not sure the officer will be against the act.
“But on the other hand, when a police officer is for example brutalising or manhandling his victim, definitely he may move against the person.
The police chief said the usual outcome is that such an individual’s recording device could be smashed, seized or worst case scenario, manhandled.
“However, there is no law against it (stopping a person from taking a picture) because there is freedom of expression.
“But citizens should remember that a person’s freedom stops where another person’s right begins,” he advised.
Okoli said the police under the current Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, was passionate about reducing crime to a manageable level.
According to him, the commitment to tackle crime in the country informed the introduction of community policing, to enable the people participate in crime fighting.
“The police cannot do it alone and cannot be everywhere, and as such, needs the cooperation of citizens to effectively fight crime and criminality,” he said.
Okoli thanked the event organisers for the award, and assured the honour would spur him and other recipient officers to do more to reduce crime in Bayelsa and beyond.
The awards will serve as an impetus that would spur us more to achieve greater things to ensure that Bayelsans sleep with their two eyes closed.
Mr Bosinde Araikpe, founder of BAGPI, said the award was organised to bridge the gap between the security agencies and members of the public.
He said the group decided to include an award in its programme to honour deserving police officers who distinguished themselves while performing their duty.
“We realise that giving awards and recognition to exceptional police officers will help boost their morale to work harder.
“The BAGPI have not collected and would never collect money to give awards.
“This award is strictly merited by deserving police officers who received awards today,” he clarified.