My tweet not endorsing assaults of civilians by officers-FPPRO

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Force Police Public Relations Officer (FPPRO), CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, has said the intention of his tweet was misquoted, saying that it was not in anyway endorsing assaults on civilians by policemen.

Adejobi on Saturday, while reacting to a viral video where two men were seen wrestling with an armed officer had tweeted that “even if a policeman on uniform slaps a civilian, the civilian has no right to retaliate.”

The tweet sparked varied reactions, and got the attention of human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, who described the statement as “provocative”, and asked the Police spokesman to withdraw it within 24 hours.

Reacting to Falana’s comment, the the FPPRO, in a statement on Monday, said that Nigerians must not take laws into their hands whenever they have unpleasant encounters with police officers.

Adejobi said: “It has become pertinent to emphasize that the Nigeria Police Force has been a vanguard of sustainable democracy in the country via the aggressive protection of the fundamental rights of the citizens and other members of the Nigerian society.

“This has been evidential in the continuous sanctions meted out by the Police authority on officers engaged in violation of individual rights, as well as extant laws when reported via any of the available police complaint channels.

“The Force Public Relations Officer reacted to a trending video where some individuals grievously assaulting a police officer, and attempting to disarm the officer by dragging his loaded AK47 rifle, restated the law on serious assault as enshrined in Section 356 (2) of the Criminal Code Act of Southern Nigeria with explanations. However, some media platforms deliberately misquoted it as endorsing violence by uniformed officers against members of the public.

“Where a public officer acts contrary to the provisions of extant laws, there are channels to report such conduct and get prompt justice, particularly in the Nigeria Police Force. In the extant case, the individuals resorted to self-help and assaulted the officers, attempted to snatch the officers’ firearm, and in so doing breached the law. It is trite that two wrongs cannot make a right. As such, whatever the provocation, the action of the individuals were wrong in all ramifications as they would have reported the matter for prompt action.

“Emphasis on this has clearly been misrepresented across media platforms as a single tweet in a thread was mischievously read out of context with a mischievous caption ‘No Nigerian Has the Right to Retaliate when Police Slaps You’.

“The Force urges well-meaning members of the public all of whom are strategic stakeholders in policing across the country to disregard the malicious publications as the current police administration is committed to ensuring that the rights of all citizens, uniformed or not, is protected across board.

“Furthermore, the Force urges the Nigerian populace not to take laws into their hands whenever they have unpleasant encounters with police officers.

“Complaints arising from such encounters can be reported via the Police Public Relations Officers (PPROs) of the various Commands, the Complaint Response Unit (CRU) and via official Police accounts across social media platforms.

“Similarly, the idea of pouncing on and beating up Law Enforcement Agents carrying out their public duty by members of the public whom they serve, is criminal and disrespectful to our beloved nation, Nigeria, and must not be allowed to exacerbate..

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