- Police have ordered the arrest of any policeman seen near ATM machines across Lagos state
- The order was given on Thursday, August 9, by the police authority in Lagos
- It was gathered that a man who was arrested by a policeman was forced to use his ATM card to withdraw money for the officer before he could be released
The Lagos state chapter of the Nigeria police force has order the arrest and prosecution of any of its officers found around the premises of the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) in Lagos and its environs.
NAIJ.com reports that CSP Adolf Ogwu, who represented the area commander of Ogudu area A police command, ACP Mullan Dantawaye, made the order on Thursday, August 9, at a constituency stakeholders' meeting held in Bariga area of the state.
Ogwu who was reacting to the complaint made by one of the stakeholders at the event, said that it is a crime for any policeman to be seen around the ATM except with authorisation.
The complainant had said that a policeman arrested a man in Bariga and asked for money but the suspect told the police he didn't have money.
According to him, the policeman later asked for the man's ATM's card and he followed him to the nearby ATM machine where he withdrew the amount demanded by the policeman.
But in his reactions, Ogwu said: "Any policeman you see near ATM machine must be arrested and that is why the commissioner of police, Edgal Imohimi, gives out his numbers to the general public.
"As a matter of fact, no policeman should put you at the bar without appropriate laid down rules and regulations. The law is no respecter of anybody. We are ready to partner with you to get the society rid of crime and criminal activities.
In his remarks, the chief whip of the Lagos state House of Assembly, Rotimi Abiru, who is also the chief host of the event, said that the representative of the police area commander made it clear that it is illegal for any policeman to be seen around ATM machines.
He said: "It is good that we have the representative of the new area commander in our midst today and before he responded, I also spoke as to what the position of law is as regards this. But taking a cue from what the area commander said, he made it clear that the Nigeria police force has warned policemen against loitering around ATM machines.
"He said it is not right and lawful for any policeman in the course of his duty to request that anybody should bring out his/her ATM or follow them to the ATM machines to collect money. It is indeed wrong and it is illegal for policemen to do that.
"He further went to say that policemen can only accompany you to the bank on the order of the court and in such incident, there must be a complaint.
"He said periodically, if they get some information, they may order policemen to raid some 'black spots' but of course, it is clear that if anything incriminating is not found on you, if you have not committed any offence, they are duty bound to release you after they must have done their findings.
"Also today, we had the opportunity to listen to the director from the office of public defenders. She came here to create awareness about the public defenders and numerous benefits that are inherent in that office for the benefit of the people of Lagos.
"This includes free legal representation to anybody who feels his/her fundamental rights have been trampled upon. I think that is commendable, that is why we allowed that talks for the benefits of our people. She equally said that she would create more time to talk to people about free services that are available to the citizens of Lagos state."
Speaking on the theme of the stakeholders' meeting: "Towards peaceful and credible election", Abiru, said that electoral process is one of the most important features of democracy with voters as the major stakeholders.
He said: "You may wonder why my colleagues and I have chosen this theme for this year's stakeholders' meeting. It is because of our concern for the peaceful conduct of the 2019 elections.
"In view of this, we, your representatives wish to enjoin you our leaders, members and supporters of political parties and groups to assume the responsibility to conduct ourselves in a way that promotes peace and unity of purpose during and after elections.
"The electoral process is one of the most important features of democracy with voters as the major stakeholders. The electorate must have confidence in the process for them to participate as this makes government itself to be responsible and responsive to the needs of the peoples.
"We urge religious and parents to contribute to the success of the elections by preaching against violence in any form, before, during and after the elections.
"Community leaders are hereby enjoined to embolden our people to always take advantage of their Constitutional rights to vote as contained in Section 77(2), 132(5) and 178(5) of the 1999 constitution as amended.
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"It is the responsibility of every member of a community to encourage eligible members of their various communities to collect their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and mobilise others to participate in the coming general elections.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had previously reported that a Lagos resident narrated how he lost his N1.5 million to some Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) thieves.
Chiuba Obinani said he lost the money through his 11-year-old son whom he sent to the ATM gallery at Ejigbo area of Lagos state.
See the faces of newly arrested criminals in Lagos state - on NAIJ.com TV