Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered police officers to stop checking citizens’ phones. For years, operatives had insisted on searching phones of Nigerians youths at checkpoints or any location. During such encounters at roadblocks or patrols, policemen, in most cases, forcefully snatch phones belonging to innocent citizens.
They search through e-mails, text messages, as well as chats on WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The victim is then “billed” an amount to secure the release of the gadget. Any claim of right or refusal to pay could lead to severe beating, seizure of the phone – or both. A number of Nigerians have also complained of how police teams forced them to log into their bank accounts to view the balance.
But Adamu, at a press briefing on Wednesday, announced that such an era is gone. “The issue of any Police unit going to look into people’s phones, which is supposed to be their private property, or looking at the type of vehicle they‘re using, or profiling them to see whether they‘re yahoo boys or not. That era is gone. It is not acceptable”, the IGP said.