“As a first-time offender, he was jailed two years, to serve as deterrence to others,” a source disclosed to Saturday Sun.
A Nigerian Chief Superintendent of Police is serving his second year in jail in the Republic of Benin, having reportedly contravened sections of the international law governing the conduct of a uniformed officer.
Prior to his imprisonment, the officer, whose real identity is being protected by the Nigeria Police, was serving on the Border Patrol when the course of his life took a drastic turn two years ago. He was said to have crossed the Seme border into the territory of The Republic of Benin in full uniform while at the same time hoisting his service pistol. Seme, a Lagos border town, is Nigeria’s Southerly border with the Republic of Benin and its gateway to West Africa.
In the wake of the brouhaha, authorities were said to have tried as much as possible to resolve the matter amicably to no avail as Beninese would not allow the law of their country to be bent in whatever manner.
An ill-fated crossing
On that fateful day, his crossing into Benin territory attracted the attention of a gendarmerie that noticed that it was against the law of their country for a foreign officer who is not on official duty to arm himself while crossing into their sovereign soil.
According to a reliable source at Louis Edet House, Shehu Shagari Way, Abuja, the ill-fated officer was approached by a detachment of gendarmes and was promptly disarmed and arrested. Methodically questioned on why he had to cross into a foreign country wearing his full police uniform and without conforming to the international laws, his explanation that he was not aware of such laws and that he was, then, recently posted to the Border Post could not hold water as the Beninese officers allegedly branded him a criminal who entered their soil with the intention of carrying out subversive activities.
The Nigerian officer was said to have mentioned the name of his commander to his interrogators in an apparent move to deny the charges being slammed on him but to no avail. He was clamped into a dingy cell within the detention facilities at the Seme Border. “He was put through a barrage of interrogation by his captors. His statement was taken under caution and he was returned to his cell,” the source supplied.
Since the Republic of Benin operates a mobile court system, the Nigerian police officer was thereafter put through the wringer and found guilty of all the charges preferred against him. “As a first-time offender, he was jailed two years, to serve as deterrence to others,” the source disclosed.
The jailed officer, Saturday Sun learnt, still receives his salary from the Nigeria Police.
Seme, a border of chaos
A visit to the Seme border post by our correspondent was quite revealing. Amidst all manners of commercial activities, some armed gendarmes from Benin were noticed to have walked across into the Nigerian soil without anyone challenging them. They were in full uniform and they had their firearm in view. On the Nigerian side, they mingled and giggled with the Nigerian security officers.
Chaos and confusion is the hallmark of the Seme border post. One could hardly notice the demarcation and it is commonplace to see traders on Nigeria side haggling with a foreigner at the other side of the border and vice versa.
One can easily discern that law enforcement officers at the border post are basically on the lookout for arms and ammunition that might have been illegally smuggled into the country.
Meanwhile, the Force Public Relations Officer, Deputy Commissioner of Police Moshood Jimoh did not pick his calls after several attempts to get an official position on the jailed police officer. A text message to his mobile phone was not replied as at the time of filing this report.