Crimes/Tragedy

Police Operatives Banned From Searching Citizens’ Phones

 

The Commissioner of Police in Edo State, Funsho Adegboye, has banned operatives in the state from searching the phones of citizens.

The police spokesperson in the state, Chidi Nwabuzor, disclosed this in a statement posted on the command’s X handle on Thursday.

“Commissioner of Police, Edo State warns officers and men to desist from this act, as the inspector general of police directs Zonal AIGs, Command, and Formation CPs to monitor their personnel,” Mr Nwabuzor.

The ban by the police in Edo State came less than two months after the police commissioner in Lagos State gave a similar warning to operatives in the state.

Incidents of operatives breaching the privacy of Nigerians by searching their phones have soared despite repeated warnings by the police authorities against such acts.

The Force spokesperson, Olumyiwa Adejobi over a year ago warned operatives against such acts.

“Stop checking phones on the road. You can’t check somebody’s phone. It is his personal property. You cannot do it,” Mr Adejobi had said in an interview with Channels Television.

Mr Adejobi, an assistant police commissioner, had said all the operatives are aware that searching a citizen’s phone is against the law.

“In the police, we have those who are deviant. There is no police officer who doesn’t know that you must not dress improperly, you must not smoke while on duty, you must not slap a Nigerian and you must not use a cutlass to flog.

“There is no Nigerian police personnel who will tell me today that they are not aware because, in the training school, it’s part of the force manual; they must have taught you all these things,” he said in 2022.

He said any operative who has done something wrong – disciplinary offence or criminal offence has its punishment – either dismissal, reduction in rank or severe reprimand.

But despite the repeated warnings by the authorities, reported cases of phone searches by operatives have been on the rise.

For instance, Vanguard newspaper last year reported how the Force spokesperson called for an investigation over a viral video showing a police operative assaulting a man for refusing to hand over his phone to him.

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