For the umpteenth time, the police in Kwara State yesterday issued a stern warning to its officers and men against extorting members of the public.
The state command vowed that any of its men found guilty of extortion while armed would henceforth be charged with armed robbery.
Speaking when he received in audience members of the Ilorin Emirate Durbar Committee in Ilorin yesterday, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Kayode Egbetokun, said his command took exception to extortion and every act of misconduct from its men.
The police boss, however, said the force got demoralised with a recent publication from a group alleging that the command was extorting the people on the roads.
He denied that the officers of the command indulged in extortion of members of the public, saying that the allegation was to disparage the police as an institution.
Egbetokun said the police was making frantic effort in ensuring that crime is reduced to the barest minimum in the state, adding that the people can now go about their lawful businesses without any fear of attack.
“Our officers are committed. We have tasked all our DPOs and Area Commanders to adapt to new levels of transparency. They have been charged to start doing things that will inspire the confidence of the people in the police.
There are well meaning individuals in this state that are partnering with us. We know that we cannot succeed in isolation of the people.
“Recently, there was a publication against the command by a group that we are yet to find out who they are. I initially thought that it is a faceless group, because there were no facts in everything they wrote. But I was told that that group actually exists. We have been trying to reach out to them. If there are some areas that there are misunderstandings, we want to let them understand.
“It is not true that our men are on the roads only for extortion. About two months ago, I had to break my leave to come and address all police officers in the state because of one case of extortion that was reported to me. And I declared at that gathering that every policeman found guilty of extortion while armed, will be charged with armed robbery.
“We don’t tolerate extortion or misconduct of our men. We are trying to instill discipline in our men, and our men are heeding our warnings. They are responding and cooperating with us. That is why I was so shocked when a group came out and publish what they wrote about us that all we are doing in this command is just to extort.
“It is so demoralising for the men who are working round the clock to ensure that the peace and security of Kwara state is not broken. we are still at a loss as to what the group wants to achieve with their publication when the door of the CP is opened to them. If we are not commended for all our efforts at sustaining the peace of the state then condemning us is also not fair” Egbetokun said.