Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, has warned police officers that are in the habit of indiscriminately checking personal information on mobile phones of members of the public to stop such practices with immediate effect.
This was contained in a Police Circular titled: “Reports of alleged indiscriminate accessing of personal information on mobile phones by police patrol teams,” signed by the Force Secretary, AIG Patrick Dukumor, and dispatched to all Police State Commands and formations nationwide.
The IGP further directed that severe disciplinary actions would also be taken against any officer 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 was made.
All state commissioners of police and formation commanders were further directed to make the full content of the said circular known to all officers attached to their respective commands.
This circular was 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.
The CRU enjoined members of the public not to engage in any form of conduct that could result to use of any form of force by a police officer, rather the CRU should be contacted in respect of any police/citizen contact that were not satisfactory to them.