RULAAC condemns attacks on Police officers during lockdown
The Nigeria Police Act, 2020 Part XII – Offences, Section 98 provides:
‘A person who assaults, obstructs or resists a police officer in the discharge of his duty… commits an offence and is liable on conviction, to a fine of N100,000 or imprisonment for a term of three months or both’.
Attack on ASP Adeyemo Ogunyemi
One of the reported cases of attacks on police officers that stood out and made the headlines during the Covid-19 lockdown was the case on May 1, 2020 in which a woman was seen in a video that went viral landing several slaps on an Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP Adeyemo Ogunyemi.
The ASP was at the time, the Divisional Crime Officer, Eruwa Police Division. He was attacked when he led a team of policemen to carry out the COVID-19 enforcement duties at Gbolagunte, Okeola area of Eruwa, Ibarapa, Oyo State.
The woman identified as Kehinde Afolake was seen in the video slapping ASP Adeyemo Ogunyemi.
Display of uncommon restraint and professionalism in the face of serious assault:
ASP Adeyemo Ogunyemi Adeyemi displayed uncommon restraint as he endured 13 slaps from the woman. The woman was seen rough-handling Adeyemi and at the same time shouting that the policemen slapped her.
As she was explaining to the crowd that gathered, she was at the same time repeatedly slapping the officer, to the astonishment of onlookers.
The officer did not retaliate any one of the total 13 hot slaps he received from the unruly woman. Instead, he was heard restraining his angry subordinates from taking any action against the woman who held him tightly on his uniform while assaulting him.
The woman was alleged to have also bitten two policewomen who went the next day to arrest her. She was eventually arrested and charged to court
According to the Force PRO, CP Frank Mbah, ‘ The Ewura incident is a classic example of unprovoked, unwarranted and unnecessary attacks faced by police officers in the course of performing their legitimate duties. The IGP, therefore, warns that this trend will no longer be tolerated by the Force”.
He disclosed that since the commencement of the COVID-19 enforcement duties, 27 police personnel had suffered a series of attacks and assaults from members of the public at different times and different locations.
Shortly after this incident, the then CP Oyo Command transferred the ASP to the Public Relations Unit of the state command. Not long after, the CP was redeployed and his successor redeployed the ASP again to the CP’s Monitoring Unit.
The woman who assaulted the ASP was eventually arrested and charged to court. Her plea was taken and she pleaded not guilty and was granted bail. But the trial has since not progressed beyond the taking of plea.
It was expected that the IGP would reward the ASP for his exemplary professional conduct which portrayed the police in positive light, just as he would have been disciplined had he acted unprofessionally.
Rewarding him will encourage him and others to remain on the path of professionalism. Not rewarding him is capable of making him look foolish for enduring 13 unprovoked and undeserved slaps. He may not endure it next time.
Others who may face similar situations may also not be encouraged to act the way he did because it would attract no reward.
For an officer of the ilk of ASP Adeyemi, reward with a special promotion is not too much to ask for.