“It would seem the Nigeria Police Force has become completely commercialised and privatised and the loots coming from the offer of private security services are enriching the accounts of the big Ogas whilst the other ranks wallow in absolute poverty, dejection, lack of motivation and poor working environment. Police services now like common investigations of offences against the poor Nigerians such as rape, theft, kidnappings and other crimes committed against helpless citizens, are now no longer investigated unless the police investigation officers are bribed because the police will let you know that the Divisional Police stations are not funded so they are expected to generate incomes to do their works. This is why you find out that Burna Boy and other entertainers who are wealthy are assigned battalions of armed policemen for huge fees which disappears into God knows where and these policemen still draw salaries from the taxpayers fund from the public till. This is a menace that must be tackled and redressed”.
With the above summation, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has carpeted the Lagos State Police Command for detailing five of their operatives to protect the musician, Burna Boy.
The rights group said this sort of deployment which is absolutely irregular has become the norm in the Nigeria Police Force and explains why there are absence of pre-emptive Police actions in times of critical needs because the few police operatives are all sent for private commercial jobs by their Area Commanders and Commissioners of Police and, probably, with the blessing of the Inspector General of Police.
HURIWA said with what has transpired in the night club in which the Police escorts shot at a man because Burna Boy allegedly made passes at the beautiful Wife of the man shows that in most instances, these Police private guards could be used for criminal purposes and the institutional corporate image of the Nigeria Police Force is continuously muddied up and no remedial steps are adopted to put an end to these malpractices.
HURIWA was reacting against the backdrop of the information that the Lagos State Police Commissioner’s Special Squad has detained five policemen attached to singer, Damini Ogulu, aka Burna Boy, for attempted murder after they shot two fun seekers – Irebami Lawrence and another identified simply as Tolu – at Club Cubana on Victoria Island, Lagos, on Wednesday.
HURIWA, quoting a preliminary report by the Bar Beach Police Division, stated that trouble reportedly started when the singer and five Police escorts visited the nightclub around 4am on June 8; even as about four policemen waited outside while one of the Policemen, identified as Inspector Ibrahim, who was in mufti, accompanied the Grammy-Award-winning artiste into the club.
HURIWA said according to multiple witnesses, the singer was in the VIP section with three women when he spotted another woman. However, the lady’s husband was said to have lambasted the singer, insisting that it was disrespectful for any man to make advances at his wife. After some minutes, Burna Boy reportedly made fresh advances at the woman.
This infuriated her husband further and his friends who had gathered at the club.
“As things were getting heated, Ibrahim brought out his service pistol and shot multiple times while Burna Boy was laughing,” said a senior Policeman.
HURIWA quoted media report as stating that in the process, 27-year-old Lawrence was shot in the thigh while his friend, Tolu, was hit in the head by a bullet. This caused a commotion in the club. It was learnt that Burna Boy and his crew then drove off to one of his properties at the Elegushi end of the Lekki-Epe Expressway before leaving for Lekki Phase 1. Aware of what he had done, Burna Boy took the next flight out without even informing the Policemen. He only made a video call to them to inform them that he had travelled to Spain. All his Police escorts have been arrested and are currently at the Command headquarters,” said a top source at the office of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police.
HURIWA however thinks that the greater blame should go to the Commissioner of Police for allowing five whole Policemen to embark on such an illegal duty of providing private security to a rich client apparently, at the risks of abandoning the security services to the members of the public for which the Nigeria Police Force was established.
The rights group has lamented that the reason there is so much indiscipline and lack of professionalism in the Police force is because the Police Service Commission that was statutorily set up to instill discipline amongst the police operatives is itself bogged down by bureaucratic bottlenecks and corruptions so much so that it has jettisoned her mandates as provided for by the law.
HURIWA is therefore appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to unbundled the Police Service Commission and relieve the Chairman of the Commission of that onerous responsibility since he has shown unmitigated incompetence and unwillingness to provide leadership to enable the Commission provide effective and efficient oversight responsibility on the Nigeria Police Force.
HURIWA also called on the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice to bring Burna Boy and his Police squad to justice to demonstrate that in a democracy, nobody is above the law.