The Sagamu Police debacle

policeSir: The imbroglio between residents of Sagamu and the police is a sad commentary on police-community relations. Indeed, it creates and perhaps aggravates the needless kind of tension and mistrust that continues to act as impediment to the confidence required for the maintenance of law and order, peace and stability in society.

What we know of the story is that Adeyinka Mafe, the majority leader of the Ogun State House of Assembly, who was primarily elected to represent Sagamu state constituency, stood up at plenary and brought up the concerns of those who sent him there, to the effect that a certain John Mark, the Divisional Police Officer in Sagamu was extorting large sums of money from residents of the area. 24 hours after, the Police Public Relations Officer, addressing a press conference, reportedly accused the majority leader of being under investigation for no less than 15 crimes. A day after, residents of Sagamu were on the streets not necessarily in defense of Mafe, but in apparent protest against the alleged misdemeanour of the DPO. The protest was said to have taken off from the palace of the paramount ruler of the town.

This unfortunate occurrence brings a lot of questions to the fore.

First, why, as Yinka Mafe asks, is the police suddenly raising matters of alleged criminality against the majority leader after the activities of a certain DPO were called to question?

Secondly, does the police understand the place of the legislature in representative democracy? Does it matter to them that, that Mafe’s voice was the voice of everybody who comes from or lives in that constituency, beyond the fact that he has been chosen to be majority leader in the state house of assembly?

Thankfully, the police authorities appear to be doing something about this case. At least, not long ago, the Inspector-General was reported to have ordered the posting of DPOs in Delta state, – over allegations of misconduct. It, however, behooves the police to recognise that actions of this nature does little to enhance the Force’s credibility and reputation.

•Akin Akinyemi, Abeokuta

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