Top Officer Reacts To Viral Video Of Policeman Searching Female Travellers’ Bags

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An Assistant Commissioner of Police, Abayomi Shogunle, has reacted to a trending video of a policeman frantically searching some travellers’ luggage.

Shogunle, the Head of the Police Public Complaints Rapid Response Unit (PCRRU), reacted in a tweet via his verified Twitter handle on Wednesday morning.

In the video, a policeman could be seen rummaging through bags belonging to some female travellers whose destination could not be determined.

The policeman’s action generated various reactions on social media, especially Twitter, with many commentators questioning the propriety of his actions.

But Shogunle said that there was nothing wrong in the policeman’s actions and urged commuters to co-operate with law enforcement agents doing their legitimate job.

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He said, “Good morning Tweeps, Nothing illegal in police searching a traveler’s luggage in Nigeria.

“The officer as seen in this viral video is doing his job.

“Stop & Search on public road is a crime prevention/detection strategy, Police doesn’t need a court warrant to do this.”

See tweet:

Meanwhile, some commentators disagreed with Shogunle’s assessment of the situation and questioned the basis for the action.

A prominent police reforms advocate, Segun Awosanya who tweets from @segalink, said, “He is mistaken. Is there a Cause for this? You mean any police officer can randomly look into the personal effects of citizens as he pleases when we are not at war? On the highway? Haba. This will be investigated further. This is Nigeria Not Somalia or Chad. I disagree.

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“This is why we put our foot down on holistic reform of the Police. They don’t know why they are. How can Citizens like you or respect you if you degrade them like this? Was there a radio about suspected persons plying the route? Was this communicated? Is he in the bag?”

But another commentator, @GLamp, said, “Please in as much as we are pushing towards police reform, the law is still the law until it is repealed. The police have powers to stop and search. Misinforming citizens will not entrench their rights but rather put them in trouble against the law.”

Responding, Awosanya said, “You are the one confusing yourself Distinguished. No one said police doesn’t have the power to stop and search but abusing such powers is where the thin line is. Do you know the citizens too have rights to their dignity and privacy? You want to override that for impunity?”

He added, “‘Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly, no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment.’ – Section 34 (1) of the 1999 constitution as amended. If the occupants of the bus are under arrest say so.

“Take them to the nearest police station off the road for their safety. Communicate with them and let them know you are doing this for their protection and offer them the option of getting their lawyers present for deep search before digging their panties out of their bags.

“This is a democracy and not a forest under Guerrilla warfare. Why should citizens see policemen on the highway and be disgusted? How does this help the image of the police? You think there can ever be an effective policing without public trust? Does this action promote trust?”

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