Convener, YesWeFit Revolutionary Movement, Dr Thomas-Wilson Ikubese has explained that slapping someone, much less a police officer on duty, is tantamount to assault. He also said that although the public is yet to hear the other side of the story, the fact that the IG of Police has wade into the matter that occurred on Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos by launching a full-scale investigation into it is a welcome development.
He was reacting to the trending video of Afro Beats star, Seun Kuti slapping a police officer believed to be on duty on Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.
In the said video which has circulated widely on social media, the Afro beats star is seen charging at the police office and also slapping him while the officer remained calm. As it appeared in the video clip, the police officer seemed to have hit Mr Kuti’s car from behind, hence, enraging the music star.
Although Dr Ikubese, in a statement on Monday, praised the officer for remaining calm and maintaining high professionalism by not retaliating against Mr Kuti, he, however, equally urged that the claims by Mr Kuti against the officer should not be overlooked.
The former presidential aspirant urged that, following the investigations already launched by the police, then after the investigations, whoever is found guilty in the incident be made to face the wrath of the law.
His statement reads thus:
“Just now, the internet is agog with the video of an enraged Seun Kuti, the Afro beats star and son of the legendary Fela Anikulapo-Kuti slapping a policeman on Third Mainland bridge in Lagos, Nigeria.
We didn’t get to see the video of what transpired between the duo before the slapping saga.
However, in his reaction via Instastory, Seun said the officer attempted to kill him and his family members, an allegation to which he said he has proof.
He also claimed that the policeman had apologised and he had forgiven him.
For me, my opinion on the matter can yet not be expressly projected as we are yet to hear from the police officer, for equity demands that one hears from both sides in a conflict before passing judgement.
Having said this much, with the one-sided narrative available in the public space, I’m of the opinion that Seun should have exercised restraint.
Slapping anyone, no matter who, is tantamount to assault. When that person is a police officer in uniform, on duty, the action becomes even more weighty!
My console in all of this is that the police officer exhibited uncommon decorum in the face of the assault. He did not retaliate. He did not use his riffle. He didn’t mobilize his colleagues to “deal” with Seun. He was just calm.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP) acted in good stead by promising a full scale investigation into the matter, while Seun makes an appearance at the Force Headquarters at the instance of the IGP.
In recent times, we’ve seen the Police authority demote and even dismiss officers who in the course of their duties act unprofessionally in relating with members of the public.
This measures were taken to protect members of the public from the police.
While this is plausible, the police should in like manner be protected from members of the public while they carry out their official duties.
As we await the outcome of the investigation, it’s my opinion that whoever is found guilty thereby should be made to face the dictates of the law, for where men take laws into their hands without consequences, a jungle-like, anarchic society is entrenched.”