Mr. Abiodun Alabi, the commissioner of police for Lagos State, has advised the public against paying bribes for bail to police officers in his command.
According to him, anybody found doing so will face legal consequences.
Alabi, who spoke over the weekend, also forbade his men and officers from demanding payments for bail from anyone who are involved in legal disputes with the police.
“Bail is free and it is written everywhere in police stations. I want to warn that any police officer caught collecting bribe or bail money from members of the public will be seriously dealt with,” he said.
“I want to equally warn members of the public to stop corrupting my officers with bribe. If you don’t know, understand today that those who collect bail money and the giver are culpable. We are going to start prosecuting the giver and taker of bribe and bail money.
“If you go to the police station to ask for the release of your relatives and the offense is a bailable one, and the policeman or woman in charge of the case, or the investigating police officer, asks for bail money, tell him or her that bail is free.
“If you resist giving bail money, which is bribe, and the officer insists that you must pay the bail money, walk to a senior officer and report; if they refuse to release your relative, kindly come to my office and tell them the reason that you want to see me and see if I won’t set an example with that officer or those who are involved. I am not boasting because there is no reason to do so.”
There is no barrier to my office. I accept everybody, especially the oppressed who are fighting for justice.
“Nigerians should help us stop this issue of bribery and corruption in the police force. I am specifically hammering on bail. It is free and the police management is not happy about it. But the problem is that most people who give bribe or pay money for bail are the ones prompting the officers, because their hands are not clean and, therefore, they want to buy justice. Some even beg with money so that their cases won’t be charged to court. But if your hands are clean and a policeman is trying to intimidate you with bribe or bail money, resist him or her and you will help us to stop this issue of bail money.
“We are going to start looking out for the policemen who request for bail money from suspects or their relatives. We are also looking for those who offer them bail money. Anyone caught will be dealt with. We shall be going round police departments, units and stations to get rid of bribery and corruption, especially the issue of money for bail. If you decide to give a policeman bail money, you are on your own, but if you report to us and we refuse to take action, blame us. I am assuring you of justice when you report.
“For my officers and men, it is no more business as usual, bail is free. I want to advise you, you should police with the fear of God. How can you collect money from a person who came to report that something happened to him? You are collecting money from someone who has come to report that he or she has been swindled. That is sheer wickedness. I am advising you that you should start preparing for your retirement by making friends with the members of the public, because you are going to return to the public. It is how you treat members of the public while in service that they will welcome you.
“Power is transient. You cannot remain in your uniform forever. Try and demystify your office by relating well with the members of the public. A bribe of N100,000 may deny you of goodwill of N1 million tomorrow. Don’t hold your office as if you will remain there forever. People have been there before you and you must leave there one day.
“For divisional police officers and area commanders, especially those whose jurisdictions are where there is always traffic, I have warned them to make sure that traffic robbers don’t operate successfully. Any of them who refuse to comply with my directives will incur my wrath. I can attest to you that the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and tactical units are doing well. They are not only arresting and making recoveries, but they are nipping robbery in the bud. In fact, they are working round the clock to make Lagosians sleep with their eyes closed.”