24th November, 2014
A video posted by the Nigeria Police Force on its Facebook wall to justify its highly criticised role in the fracas that ensued on Thursday at the National Assembly has again resulted in a barrage of condemnation of the law enforcement agent by Nigerians.
The video which had over 1,300 comments at the time of this report had most of the respondents slamming the police for becoming partisan and allegedly adding to the recent poor reputation of Nigeria.
Though the police attempted to defend itself with the video which came with a post carrying questions aimed at justifying its actions, many of the respondents simply saw it as self-indicting.
An alleged attempt by the police to bar embattled Speaker Aminu Tambuwal of the House of Representatives as well as some lawmakers believed to be sympathetic to him from partaking in an emergency sitting to discuss a request by President Goodluck Jonathan resulted in a fracas that led to the shutting down of the National Assembly.
The video had shown Tambuwal in his car while one of his aides ran to the gate to ask that it be opened for the Speaker.
When the security men did not open the gate, another person, presumably a lawmaker, went to the gate and asked the security men to open the gate. Then Tambuwal got down and was quizzed by a policeman who pretended not to know the Speaker.
Even after introducing himself to them and asking to see the most senior officer among them, the policemen refused to open the gate until the lawmakers forced their way in, with some scaling the fence. The video did not show how the lawmakers and the Speaker were teargassed.
In the accompanying post, the police had asked: “Is there any justification for these: why would anyone use a car to shove/push a uniformed Policeman performing his lawful duty? Why would any group of persons rough-handle a uniformed Policeman performing his lawful duty and also refuse to submit to security screening into a government building? Why would any group of persons destroy government property paid for with tax payers’ money?”
In answering the question by the police, one Victor Oshioke said: “Yes, there is justification for it, since our beloved NPF has turned into the enforcement arm of the PDP. Not since the unfortunate last days of NPN has the NPF reached this low.”
While Muhammad Nura Alfa wondered why any uniformed police man would stop an elected citizen from performing his constitutional duties, Nura Alkali asked: “Why would anyone allow the Deputy Speaker and Senate President entry but lock out the Speaker? You policemen are not even good at propaganda. You think that Nigerians are fools? Please delete this childish and embarrassing post.”
Mohammad Jamu, another respondent, asked the police to spend their strength on insurgents, kidnappers, armed robbers and not elected officers on duty, just as Festus Denis-Akano expressed grief at what he called the partisan approach of the police.
For Abdullahi Yakubu, “this video convinced me beyond reasonable doubt that these honourable members are truly patriotic.”
Responding, Chidimma Obierefu Nwachukwu said: “The police I see here did not display what is expected of Nigerian Police. Any Nigerian policeman should know the Speaker of the House and should accord him that respect.
“The hallowed chamber belongs to Nigeria and not police property. I can tell you without mincing words that the Nigeria Police Force has never behaved as if they know that they are paid with tax payers money; rather, they are tools in the hands of rich people.”
Cjay Iwuchukwu said the police lied with the video and said other versions of the incident would surface in due course while Oladapo Kolawole asked why the police was taking sides with the executive arm of government. He also asked why the gate of the Assembly should be locked against some set of legislators.
Fisayo Sadiku maintained that the police had no right to be in the place except it was acting out a script for Tambuwal’s impeachment adding: “The NPF is now trying to tell us they are the victims. The legislators climbed the gate to their work place, not the gate of force headquarters. If they like they can climb it everyday, it is no issue.”
Like most Nigerians, she said she had been a victim of police harassment on many occasions adding: “if the police are so concerned about peace and stability…in the country why don’t they go to Yobe, Mubi or Borno?”
Iorgilim Barnabas said the Speaker showed he was honourable with the way he conducted himself while the incident lasted. He urged other politicians to learn from the Speaker who “never allowed his emotions to overpower his reasoning.”
Abubakar Dala Aliyu described Inspector-General Suleiman Abba as the country’s major problem while Ahmed Mohammed Umar asked the police to go and tackle Boko Haram if it really wanted to maintain law and order. He also warned that the police leave the defenceless citizens alone.
Austyn Ike Nwanokwai asked: “What was the guy that posted this expecting? I’m sure he was raged by the treatment meted to the Speaker so he just posted this to let Nigerians judge how low NPF has degenerated.
“Well I hope the police don’t fire you for exposing them because if you thought you set out to justify the police, you failed because you succeeded in showing how unprofessional NPF has become.
“How else do you want to identify the Speaker even after he came out of his car to introduce himself. It’s obvious that the NPF is acting out somebody’s script but the good thing is that Nigerians are the audience in this theatre. We dey watch!”
Supporting Nwanokwai, another respondent, Olugbenga Olayiwole, wondered “how anyone would expect sympathy from posting this video is beyond me. What lawful duty was the policeman performing? Why was he corking his gun when faced with unarmed civilians?
“I didn’t see anyone being rammed by a car in this video. Besides, is this how they film stop and search activity everyday at the NASS? As long as we remain one Nigeria, a day will come when someone who is not a Southerner or a Christian will be President; when he starts to do the same thing please don’t complain. Foolish people never think of the future.”
For Courage Osagiede, whoever posted the video is an enemy of Nigeria and the humiliation suffered by the lawmakers is a humiliation on every sane Nigerians. “I smell a rat going into 2015.”
Emmanuel Anda asked: “what kind of people do we have in government? Does the police understand that there are three separate arms of government? So, one day the police will seal the Supreme Court and stop the Chief Justice of the Federation and other Supreme Court judges from functioning?
“That done, they can now seal off Aso Rock and prevent the President and the Presidency from working too. What a disgrace! What a shame. Do these guys think we are all as silly as they are? When a whole police force becomes the appendage of a ruling party, what do you expect the opposition to do?”
Taura Muhd Taura declared: “uploading this video indicted the police…the Speaker is the number four citizen of this country and deserves some respect..he introduced himself as the Speaker of the House and the police were looking like deaf and dumb…I pity Nigeria Police.”
For Babatunde Oladeji: “It is so obvious that the police are acting the script written by the Presidency. This man (Tambuwal) is the number four citizen of this our beloved country for crying out loud; even when he identified himself, courtesy demands that the police should honour his office.
“There is no justification for locking him out of the premises he heads. Jonathan is becoming a dictator, without regard for the rule of law.”
Asiwaju Collins Afam Nwude said after carefully viewing the “edited video version of the Nigeria Police,” he was forced to ask if the police would say they do not know Tambuwal.
“Nigerians are not sincere to themselves. To me the lawmakers are heroes; they defended the country by avoiding what would have been a problem to all of us,” he added
He said the police would not confront robbers, they would mount road blocks, even after road blocks had been declared illegal, and extort money from motorists. “I will vote for a president that takes police as its number one agenda because that is the origin of our problems,” he said.
Ikenna Enebe stressed: “The Nigeria Police Force, please be warned, let this house not fall on your watch for if it does even your children will have no place to hide.”
However, police still had the support of a few like Tunde Aremu, who said it was a show of shame for the lawmakers to scale fences.
“A lawmaker of their calibre must be above board in character. These people show no dignity. I am surprised these people are being paid so much money they don’t deserve.
“I have seen a video in which Obama was asked to identify himself by showing his identity card before entering a public building which he jokingly and politely did. This type of brigandage can only happen in Nigeria,” he said.