Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
Police officers attached to the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (SCIID) Panti, Yaba have expressed deep concern at the rate in which violators of the lockdown order are being dumped at the formation.
The development, the officers say, breaches social distancing and could lead to the further spread of the deadly virus.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on March 24th issued a directive that Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja be placed on a total lockdown in order to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
Some of the officers of the department who spoke on condition of anonymity say the rate at which violators of the lockdown order are being dumped at the formation needed to be checked, saying that it exposes them to danger.
The violators, who are currently over 400, were arrested at all police formations in the state and are bing held at the department pending when they would be prosecuted before a mobile court.
“We have these people being brought here every day from all police divisions and Area Commands in the State,” a police officer at the formation told Daily Sun.
“Few of them, especially those that have names, are being prosecuted before a mobile or magistrate court, while others are being left to loiter and mingle among themselves here.
“My brother, where is the social distancing? Why can’t these people be tried at the stations where they were arrested? Please, help us to tell government so that they can know what we are facing here.”
Another officer who also didn’t want his name in print said: “My brother, this is a sad situation. These people were brought here for violating the stay-at-home order of the president, but see them as they cluster among themselves. How do we know for sure that there is no one among them that has contracted the virus?
“We, the officers here, are not free from the disease, as far as these people are here because there is no way we wouldn’t come in contact with them. This is a sad situation.
“If the government is not ready to prosecute them, they should release them instead of dumping them here. Government need to do something to salvage the situation,” the officer said.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, Elkana Bala, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), reacting to the report, said no lockdown violators were allowed to spent 24 hours at the formation.
He said there was no cause for the alarm, noting that the trial of violators occurs within 24 hours of their arrest.
“Some of the people you saw are not mostly violators of lockdown order, some of them are murder or armed robbery suspects brought to the formation for further investigation. There is a proper arrangement for the prosecution of lockdown violators in order not overcrowd the formation. It is either they are taken to court or prosecuted at the Mobile Court sitting in the formation within 24 hours,” he assured.