Tattoos don’t mean you are irresponsible, say police

Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Sulaiman (left); Ace Rapper, Micheal Stephens “Ruggedman”; popular broadcaster, Gbemisola Olateru-Olagbegi, “GbemiOO”; Chief Marketing Officer of Sterling Bank, Dapo Martins; former Lagos Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Dolapo Badmus, and Convener, #EndSARS Campaign, Segun Awosanya “Segalink” during Sterling Bank’s panel session themed “Social Media Wars: Dreads, Tattoos and Passwords” at the Social Media Week Lagos 2020…yesterday

‘It is wrong to search mobile devices’
The Nigeria Police Force (NPF), has said that Tattoos don’t make people irresponsible in as much as such a person can express and explain his or herself in a modest way.

Former Lagos State, Police Public Relations Officer, Dolapo Badmus, speaking at the ongoing Social Media Week 2020, in Lagos, yesterday, at a session, themed: “Social Media Wars: Dreads, Tattoos and Password,” advised that whenever anyone is waved down by the Police, “try to be friendly, identify yourself, be composed. Police remains your friend. Even when you have tattoos all over your body, that doesn’t make you a criminal; all you need to do is to express and explain yourself, and you will be allowed to go if nothing incriminating is found on you.”

At the session hosted by Sterling Bank, Badmus also stressed that no police officer has the authority or right to search peoples’ mobile devices.

She said police officers are only allowed to do so when there is a reason to carry out investigation.

The menace of officers stopping Lagos residents and demanding to search their phones has become increasingly worrisome.

On this, she stressed that officers demanding to search peoples’ mobile devices can be likened to walking up to a random man and asking him to pull off his boxers for the sake of a search operation.

According to her, the development is wrong, as a phone is a private space.

Sighting herself as an example, Badmus noted that she could decide to keep vital information such as her bank account in her phone.

The former Police spokesperson added that there are also people who store their bank statements in their mobile phones, and it would be completely wrong for a police officer to demand to go through such devices.

She, however, noted that such searches are only appropriate when there is a reasonable ground for doing so, adding that officers are only permitted to search mobile devices when there is a reason to carry out investigation.

On his part, popular musician, Michael Ugochukwu Stephens, popularly called, Ruggedman, also said it is wrong for police officers to search people’s phones.

He said serious reforms need to be carried out in the police community in Nigeria, so that they can become more efficient.

He alleged that a lot of illiterates, criminals have been employed into the force, and by so doing, corrupting the system.

According to him, police are to serve the people, and serve well.

Responding to claims that the NPF does not want to recruit educated and sane people into the force, Badmus, also asked the audience, how many of them are willing to join the force; unfortunately, only three persons indicated interest to join the force.

To this, Badmus said:”the educated appear sceptical joining, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have credible people in the force. We have lots of them that are doing amazing things. But I must say this that in Nigeria, police is still a work-in-progress; we will get it right soonest.”

Human rights activist, Segun Awosanya, popularly known as SEGAlinks, urged the public not to fight the police.

According to him, two bills (Police Trust Fund Bill, and Police Reform Bill), have been positioned to bring the needed change in the force.

The Managing Director, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Sulaiman, who appealed to Nigerians to treat police officers fairly, also urged the people not to take laws into their hands.

Sulaiman urged the officers to be diligent in their service, and advised Nigerians, especially the youths, to put the Social Media to positive use.

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