By OKOSUN OKHUELEIGBE
As a result of complaints from members of the public, the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, has prohibited police personnel to henceforth stop the habit checking of personal information on mobile phones of members of the public in the guise of looking for scammers.
It was learnt that sequel to several reports made to the Complaint Response Unit (CRU) by citizens most especially from Lagos, Oyo, Ekiti, Delta, Rivers and Edo States of alleged indiscriminate checking of personal information such as emails, text messages and other forms of communication contents on personal mobile phones by some officers under the pretext of looking for fraudsters.
In a Police circular entitled: “Reports of alleged indiscriminate accessing of personal information on mobile phones by police patrol Teams” and signed by the Force Secretary, AIG Patrick Dukumor and made available to all police formations nationwide , the IGP frowned at the practice maintaining that severe disciplinary actions would also be taken against any officer (s) and their Supervisors (DPOs, Area Commanders and Sectional Heads) against whom a proven report of illegal mobile phone checks not supported by appropriate court orders or operational exigency is made.
According to CSP Abayomi Shogunle, Officer in charge, Complaint Response Unit (CRU), Force Headquarters, Abuja, explained that the IGP has directed all the State Commissioners of Police and Formation Commanders to educate officers attached to their respective Commands about the new order.
The statement which read in part said “The Circular also reminded officers to ensure protection of the Rights to private and family life as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as Amended;
Section 37 of the Constitution states “The privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected”
The CRU enjoins members of the public not to engage in any form of confrontation with police officers that might not be in the interest of public peace urging members of the public to contact CRU when not satisfied with the way they are treated.