Police officer allegedly harasses Gombe NBA Chairman
Mr Benjamin Sati, the chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Gombe State, has levelled allegations of harassment against a mobile police officer stationed at one of the state’s commercial banks.
Sati conveyed these claims during an interview with journalists in Gombe on Wednesday, shortly after the purported incident transpired on the bank premises. He asserted that the police officer, without any apparent provocation, had directed insulting and derogatory language towards him.
In his own words, Sati recounted the incident: “I entered the bank to complete a transaction, and upon entering the premises, a bank security personnel directed me to a parking spot, which I duly followed. However, a police officer on the premises soon shouted at me, instructing me not to park there. I responded, explaining that it was the bank’s security personnel who had guided me to that spot. In response, the police officer hurled an insult at me, stating, ‘You are very stupid.’ I inquired about the reason for such an insult, and the officer used a derogatory term to refer to me. Due to a prior leg injury from an accident, the officer went as far as calling me ‘disabled’ in the Hausa language.”
Sati continued, “In a civilized society like ours, we should expect better treatment from the police. Unprovoked disrespect is uncalled for, and Nigerians should be accorded respect. The role of the police should not involve harassment or bullying of citizens, which is why I felt compelled to speak out.”
Expressing concern for the common man on the street who visits the bank daily, he questioned, “If I can be treated this way without provocation, what happens to ordinary citizens? Regardless of class, Nigerians deserve respect from security personnel.”
Sati affirmed his commitment to pursue the matter rigorously, particularly on behalf of those who may have endured similar treatment but lack the means to address such issues. He indicated his intention to raise the matter with the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Oqua Etim, the Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, and other relevant stakeholders. His goal is to ensure that police officers in the state treat Nigerians with dignity and respect.
Despite being approached by bank officials who pled that such incidents would not recur, Sati emphasized, “I am pursuing this matter as a defence for those who may have been harassed but are unable to voice their concerns. This behaviour must come to an end.”
When approached for comment, Commissioner Oqua Etim questioned why Sati opted for a press conference instead of addressing the issue directly at the bank, given that he was there as a customer. Etim argued, “If there is a problem between a bank employee and a customer, who should you report to? The bank manager? Why involve the press?”
Etim further stated, “Sati claims he was insulted, but what did he say to the police officer? Many people visit banks, and no similar complaints have been received. If this was indeed the case, why has the police officer not insulted anyone else? Respect is earned through one’s behaviour; you shouldn’t abuse privileges. When you visit a bank as a customer and encounter a problem, you should report it to the bank.”
Etim clarified that Sati’s comments to the police officer had not been heard, and hence, the full context was unclear. He concluded, “We must also respect the rights of the police, as they are human beings too.”