Edgal Imohimi, the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, on Friday said six out of ten young people in Lagos were cultists.
He stated this at a town hall meeting with some residents of Surulere area of the state. Such proclamation would have been well received if the Lagos police boss had stated the source of his assertion. But looking at the modus operandi of the Nigeria Police, it would not be out of place to assert that they go with general assumptions, bordering on stereotypes rather than painstaking investigation.
It is this kind of blind declaration credited to the Lagos State Commissioner Of Police that has been the age-long practice and beliefs of the Nigeria Police. Research and investigation, community feedback are traded for personal opinion, suspicion and assumptions.
Such is the reason why policemen litter our roads and highways asking for vehicle papers because it is assumed you’re driving with expired vehicle identification papers or Driving License that is out of date or expired. Even when the police have no legal reason or reasonable suspicion to stop you, they still do because they assume 60 or 80 percent of Nigerian motorists are driving around with expired documents. Now it would have been great if the police had taken figures from the Federal Road Safety Corps or Board of Internal Revenue but such assumption is readily squashed with the fact that during the introduction of the current Driver’s license, the Nigeria Police was reported to have attempted to initiate another exercise of registration by motorists for documentation instead of liaising with sister agencies who already had same data it sought. It would have been a duplication of function, wasting scares resources and time in a vain exercise. So the Lagos police boss is reeling off personal convictions as data.
Going down further in analysing the statement credited to Lagos state Commissioner Of Police one is no longer puzzled why the police treats every youth with a laptop or iPhone as a cyber criminal or why they order you to unlock your phones when you’re not under any prior investigation or a subject of complaint. Yes, sixty percent of Nigerian youths are into internet fraud!
And the next time , a policeman stops you on the road, know that his assumption is that you’re likely a cultist.
No doubt, junior police officers of rank and file are likely to act on this proclamation of guilty sentence handed over to Nigerian youth by the Lagos State Commissioner Of Police.