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UNDERCOVER: How Lagos RRS officers drink ‘paraga’, play ‘Baba Ijebu’ while on duty (video)

UNDERCOVER: How Lagos RRS officers drink ‘paraga’, play ‘Baba Ijebu’ while on duty (video)
October 12
10:16 2021

When the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) was created from ‘Operation Sweep’ by the Bola Tinubu administration in 2001, it was established to operate on four core values which are — prudence, accountability, resourcefulness and trust. 

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But these days, officers of the elite police squad seem not to care about these values, as some of them have now made a habit of consuming locally distilled liquor known as ‘paraga’ at stalls scattered around their operational base in Alausa, Ikeja. It is not also surprising seeing some of them, armed and in uniform, queuing for “lucky numbers” at ‘Baba Ijebu’ betting shops in Alausa. 

An officer looking for ‘lucky number’ to hit the jackpot

The RRS, which consists of more than 200 officers, has had its operations gulp a huge sum of taxpayers money, and in fact, a trust fund was set up in the name of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) to equip the squad through donations and contributions from private organisations and well-meaning individuals, in order to enhance its operational capability and effectiveness.

These immense contributions from both the Lagos state government and their private partners have overtime reflected in the thousands of motorbikes, patrol vehicles, helicopters, gunboats, ballistic helmets/bulletproof vests, raincoats/boots provided for the men of the RRS.

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But the challenge is that the officers who are provided with these essentials and top-notch police equipment, which are lacking in most police commands across the country, seem not to be taking their jobs seriously and abide by the ethics of the profession.

‘THEY TAKE PARAGA TO SHINE THEIR EYES’

An officer drinking local gin before resuming duty

The force parade ground is situated at Alausa, and daily these officers wander on Kadiri road that leads to the parade ground, which is not far from the popular Ikeja City Mall (ICM) that houses ShopRite.

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The men of the RRS are always present at different locations of the street gambling, smoking cigarettes, and drinking alcohol without any respect for their uniform or their jobs.

Speaking with TheCable, one of the alcohol sellers, whose stall is not far from the RRS parade ground, said the officers gather there to “change their clothes”, “relax” and “shine their eyes with paraga” every Monday and Friday.

An officer going through betting numbers displayed on a fence in Alausa

The woman added that they come in groups and often before and after their parades.

“It depends, sometimes when they come, their friends want to come along. Most of them come here to change their clothes, shine their eyes and to relax,” she said.

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Another officer buying local gin also known as ‘agbo’

“If dem no take alcohol, dem go take ‘predator’, anything that will make them relax. Dem dey always plenty. Sometimes they are less than 10. While some are going, some are coming.

“Some will stay at the place of that other woman that sell over there. One thing about them is that the ones wey wan resume work go take some before dem go for parade; after parade you fit see them say ‘make I take one or two’ before dem go.”

NO, THEY GO THERE TO POLISH THEIR SHOES’ 

Hmmm, polishing shoes indeed

When contacted, Femi Moliki, the squad’s spokesperson, said he is unaware of the unprofessional conduct by the officers, saying he is going to take time to find out if truly the men of the RRS engage in such acts.

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He, however, added that he has the knowledge that the men of the RRS squad hover around Kadiri road to “polish their shoes” and “fuel their vehicles”.

“Our parade ground is just around that area. What I can only see around that area is that our men go there to polish their shoes or carry fuel for their vehicles. Before the parades, they want to appear neat and appealing,” he said.

Will the odds favour him?

“I’m not aware of this but I’m going to take time to find out.”

Hours later, Moliki returned to inform TheCable that he had carried out his “due diligence with his team, and no man in the RRS uniform was found gambling or taking alcohol”.

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WHAT THE LAW SAYS

The law guiding the police frowns at unprofessional conduct by officers, and recommend adequate punishment for erring officers.

According to the Nigeria Police Act 2021, it is unlawful for a police officer to take alcohol and psychotropic substances like heroin and cocaine while on duty, and if the officer is caught, he or she will be punished in line with the police disciplinary procedures.

Section 100 (1) of the Act states that: “While on duty, a police officer shall not take any intoxicating liquor, psychotropic substances, or stimulants, where he does, he shall be punished in accordance with the police disciplinary procedures.”

In December 2015, a police officer who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol shot dead three people and himself at a hotel in Ketu, Lagos state.

Kadima Useni, a police inspector, was in November 2018 dismissed by the police after he got drunk while on duty in Akowonjo, Dopemu area of Lagos.

In November 2020, a video where a police officer was seen misbehaving under the influence of alcohol at CBN junction in Abuja surfaced on social media.

Administrators of the Lagos RRS squad should put in place measures that will curb the excessiveness of police personnel, so that they can carry out their duty as law enforcement officers with respect for the ethics of the profession.

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