The Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, has stated that it is illegal for police officers to demand and collect money from families of locked up suspect for their bails.
Police officers frequently demanding bail fees to release locked up suspects are very popular in police stations in Nigeria and seems like a tradition. Often, the fees are arbitrary and could go up to N500, 000 depending in the station’s evaluation of the suspect’s assumed crime.
The fees collected from suspects are never accounted for; it is believed that the money is shared amongst the station’s officers and dividends go way up to the hierarchy of the force.
It is a mischievous motivation for officers. Habitually, lower level police officer move into cities with buses and arrest people indiscriminately only to demand bail fees. Also, crime investigations are, most times hindered by officer’s overbearing need make profits from indiscriminate arrests.
The Inspector General is believed to be fully aware of the menace and criticised it while speaking at a meeting of all Criminal Investigation Departments (CID) in the country in Abuja yesterday.
The IGP said the complaint to his office over extortion and corruption during investigations is becoming alarming.
Bail profiteering is just one of the many corrupt practices plaguing the Nigerian Police.
The police’s boss said he has been receiving complaints about policemen collecting and extorting money from people, saying the situation is becoming embarrassing.
The police, he said, must not collect money for bail and must charge cases to competent courts of law.
He added that investigators found culpable would be “immediately dismissed” from the force. He also warned against arbitrariness on the part of investigators to detained accused person without reasons.
He is however not the first police boss to issue such warnings. Several police IGP have at a point in their service time issued warning proscribing one corrupt practice or the other but their warnings always seem to be ignored by the junior police officers whose survival appear dependent on money made from sharp practices.
The police boss said “attempts” would be made to look at complaints in other come up with a workable solution towards fishing out culprits of crimes of corruption within the force as his way of ending the plague.