The police should be wiser



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The police should be wiser

Hardball



It is unbelievable that Lagos State Commissioner of Police (CP) Hakeem Odumosu allegedly downplayed the essentiality of media services at a time like this, contrary to the wisdom of the state government and the federal government.

Reported Lagos cases of police misinterpretation of the nationwide coronavirus curfew as being applicable to media workers show that the CP does not understand the role of the media and how the media operates.



”On the first day of the 8pm to 6am curfew imposed by President Muhamadu Buhari,” a report said, “the police chief personally mounted a road block on Gbagada Expressway, Mainland Lagos, from around 8:30pm.”

According to the report, “He declined for a long time to allow passage for people on essential duty including journalists…He declared that essential workers are not allowed movement during curfew.”

At various places in Lagos, the police gave journalists a hard time on their way home from work. Those affected included staff of The Nation, The Punch and Channels Television.

It was reported that “A senior editorial member of staff of The Nation was delayed at Gbagada for about five hours before being allowed to go after the intervention of a top government official. From 8:30pm, he did not leave the place till about 1am.”

Also, “a senior editorial member of The Nation” was quoted as saying:  ”Policemen stopped me twice at Ikorodu around midnight on my way home from office… I showed them my ID card. They refused to allow me go.

“I had to approach the most senior among them. While the juniors said no, the senior one saw reason but he warned that I should tell my organisation to get a pass from the CP on subsequent days if I must pass through the place.”

If the policemen were simply carrying out the CP’s orders, it means the CP’s orders were wrong-headed. It is reassuring that Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed, reacting to the development, said: “I will take up the matter of the commissioner of police in Lagos… by my understanding, anybody that is a journalist with identification is allowed to move about.”

Evidently, the Lagos police boss is doing his work based on a warped understanding. He should not infect the policemen under his control with his own nonsensical perspective. Now that the authorities have clarified the essentiality of media services, the police should be wiser.

The police should be wiser

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