Opinion: “Money-For-Posting-Racket-Rocks Police:” Journalism In Danger

By Johnson Chinedu

There’s a very sacred creed in journalism that does not escape anyone who practices by the letters. It is: “when in doubt, leave out.” Similarly, in the realm of legal practice and principle, it is not permitted for one to probate and reprobate. Both principles were savagely assaulted in a rather miserable non story created and presented to unsuspecting members of the public by the Lagos based sentimental tabloid, Saturday Sun.

In a report, “Money for Posting Racket Rocks Police,” published on Saturday, 3rd June, 2017 of its edition, the tabloid, typical of
unserious street pop-culture publications, cast professional journalism in very awful light. The report’s first claim to investigation of the particulars of the case it reported on fell flat on its face. The reported kingpin of an alleged scandal was located to an address in Lagos; his movements were monitored as well as his house by this tabloid’s “investigating” team. To the point that the “Investigation” unearthed bags of money being moved into the residence of this fellow who also is the subject of its “investigation” at the end of which the simple matter of the name of the individual in question remained a mystery. What manner of journalism is that?

To crown the shoddy display by the tabloid, it was unable to establish a background profile and possibly flash image of this person.
Expectedly, the report and its sponsors would undermine even the very spurious narrative they were bent on creating by admitting a self-evident truth about the Inspector General of Police not being a money conscious individual. As is prevalent now, scam artists have
repeatedly passed off with names of highly placed public officials with a view to defraud. One of such criminally minded members of the
public was recently arrested by the Police for seeking to use the name of Femi Adesina, Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media, with a view to defrauding the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.

Clearly, what this tabloid did is tantamount to, for instance, putting Mr. Adesina on media and public trial for a crime he only got two
know about after the perpetrator had been arrested.

There are instances where such scam artists have targeted influential Nigerians with bait on strategic appointments for which they usually
claim to represent the First Lady, or indeed the Chief of Staff in the Presidency. If a similar scam process has been mounted by these
criminal elements with the Office of the Inspector General as its target, the professional thing for a journalist to do would be to painstakingly map the situation and send out through a report both a warning and an alarm to members of the public. What we have instead is a cut and nail cocktail of hearsay in the tabloid publication. In effect, the paper swept aside the values of fair hearing central to
legal and journalism practice, proceeding to smear innocent officials for alleged criminality they know nothing about.

Over time, the law enforcement agencies such as the Police and the Directorate of State Security, DSS, have had to alert members of the
public of such syndicates some of which have regularly been smashed. To the credit of the IG of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, the Police has
been refocused on addressing insecurity and fighting criminality. To the point, it must be acknowledged, that no kidnap case in Nigeria has
escaped unresolved by the Police. The process of solving it might take Hide quoted text a bit of time, but it has always inevitably been solved since Idris took over as IG of Police. Another clear milestone of his stewardship is the identification and deployment of competent and professional hands in strategic fronts to implement his renewed efforts to combat crimes across the country. It is also evident that the strategy of the current IG of Proactive measures and intelligence led policing is yielding life saving results. One example of this proactive policing is the most recent feat, being the arrest of militants who had concluded plans to attack 5 banks in the commercial hub of West Africa, Lagos.

What the IG is also focusing on right now in the Police Force is a retooling and retraining process that will benefit the entire Force
and inspire appropriate leadership values and professional excellence in members of the Force. There is already a roadmap for
professionalizing the core competences of officers and men within the Force with an aim to make the Nigeria Police professionally
competitive internationally.

As the police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Jimoh Moshood noted recently, “it is unfair for anybody to say that and nobody is being paid, for the selection of Squadron Commander. It is unfounded and anybody making such allegation should let us know who he is paying the money to and who asked for such money from him or her because Squadron Commanders? are posted based on their competence and their capability and ability to carry out the specific operations and other responsibilities expected of them.”

Surely, the reaction by the leadership of the police as in above punctured the cover story by The Sun, it also, clearly, points to the missing “W”s and one “H” that is crucial in any credible report in journalism.


Chinedu writes from Asaba, Delta State.


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