“Job Delivery Is Not A Matter Of Gender”- PPRO, Lagos State Police Command SP Dolapo Badmos

By Ikenga Chronicles March 8, 2016

“Job Delivery Is Not A Matter Of Gender”- PPRO, Lagos State Police Command SP Dolapo Badmos

The Police Public Relations Officer for the Lagos State Police Command SP. Dolapo Badmos is an enigmatic and brilliant woman. Deeply versed in all matters that concern the police, and with a strong background in community policing and information management, SP. Badmos stands heads and shoulders above most of her peers. In this interview with Ikenga Chronicles’  Chief  Coordinating Correspondent Nigeria, Murna Danmadami, SP. Badmos bares her mind on several sensitive issues concerning the Nigeria Police Force, the role the public has to play, her most harrowing experience, and some sensitive issues about the Lagos State Police Command. Enjoy it!

 

I:C: Who is  Dolapo Badmos.

SP Badmos: Ifedolapo  Badmos is a superintendent of  police and currently the Police Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Command. She is happily married with kids

IC: What led you into joining the Police Force and when exactly did you enroll?

SP Badmos: Actually, I never wanted to be a police officer but as fate would have it, my uncle talked me into it. Uncle Bodunde Adeyanju who after graduating, went and obtained the forms tried hard to enter, but alas, he couldn’t get into the police. In fact I would say he forced me into it and here we are today. I truthfully don’t have any regrets about it. I joined in the year 2002 precisely 15th August 2002 and this is my fourteenth year on the job and so far so good I would say it’s been a journey of no return. FORWARD EVER

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IC:  So you really didn’t plan to be a Police Office! If you did not join the Police Force, what profession would you have probably found yourself in?

SP Badmos: I would have been a medical doctor. I wanted to be a medical doctor so that I could save lives but I think as a police officer I am doing more than what a medical doctor could have done.

IC: Considering that Lagos is a cosmopolitan city where all manner of things can happen, and with increase in the rate of crime, what are the plans of the Lagos State Police Command?

 

Dola

SP Badmos: Let me first correct an impression, a couple of weeks ago, when the executive governor of Lagos state, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode was having a townhall meeting, he said crime in Lagos state has reduced to 65% and I agree with him on that one. So your statement that crime is on the increase in Lagos is not correct. On the other issue of how do we curb crime in a cosmopolitan state, the truth is that in every cosmopolitan state (in fact in the whole world) you can only reduce crime to the barest minimum because as long as there are human beings in an environment,  there must be crime. In our own way though, what we try to do is to nip crime and criminality in the bud. The Lagos State Commissioner of Police who is vast in operations has set out a lot of what we  call “operational strategies” which I  will not divulge to you at this point to combat crime. The Lagos State Government has been very supportive in this. You will agree with me that the LASG gave the command a lot of equipment late last year and during Christmas  and New Year celebrations . That helped us to fight crime to a standstill and people were able to go shopping, enjoy recreational centres, without serious incidences of crime. We are also doing “on the job training” to make our men conform to modern day policing so as to be able to battle any form of criminality that will come up due to the cosmopolitan nature of our Lagos state.

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IC: Management of information between the police and the public is not as easy as people generally think. Have you been feeling the heat since you came onboard as the PPRO and how do you intend to improve and sustain the relationship between the police and the people?

SP Badmos: I speak on behalf of the Lagos State Police Command and sometimes, I can speak for the Force Police because one might not be able to reach Force PRO immediately. But if you are in Lagos zone, you might want to hear from me immediately. Of course I can chip in one or two things but at that point it does not make it an official statement for the Force Police PRO. I still remain the Lagos State Command PPRO and the things that I want people to expect from me is that I see myself as the “ gap bridger”  between the members of the public and the Nigeria Police Force. I take the feedback from the public and feed it into the police system, while I also take information from the police to the public. So I am in-between the two and I want you to know that I am not serving the police alone, I am also serving members of the public.

I won’t want to agree that management of information is a tough one–it’s not a tough one. If you don’t want to cover the truth, it is easier, and I don’t cover the truth–that is my own aim, I will not cover the truth. But you can only manage what has happened and if there is any information that needs to be reeled out to members of the public we are going to reel it out, and let me tell you this, the social media stuff although it has a lot of disadvantages but it’s really helping us in the management of information. A lot of people are getting feedbacks from social media –Twitter, Facebook, Instagram ,Whatsapp messages etc—and even through telephone calls.  So we are able to communicate with people through all those channels and that is how we are managing information in terms of feedback and like I have said, my Commissioner of Police in his usual character will not hide whatever has happened so we will blow our trumpet if we have done what is good. So all in all it is not a herculean task.

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IC: You said social media has its downside, would you say this has been your greatest challenge as the PPRO?

SP Badmos: I would not say it has been a challenge because it’s also an avenue where I have been able to reach out to a lot of people– a lot of Nigerians.  The only area where I am kind of having a challenge is that people concoct lies and then they send it through social media and other people just agree without investigating if it is actually true. An example of this is the one million men in Badagry area, the way and manner the social media blew it up was alarming but when we got there people were drinking and had a quarrel over  ‘who will buy me drink or don’t buy me drink’ and fighting each other and the next thing we saw on social media “one million gang has taken over so and so area in Badagry” . We saw that and sent in our operatives and they gave  us feedback that it was only two people having a fight over drinks perhaps after they got drunk, do you understand?  So you see these are the kind of challenges we are facing because of social media but all in all it is okay.

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IC: With regards to the Badagry saga as you mentioned above, what happens when there are pictures of victims and purported letters of warning to the residents which caused them to create bonfires at night for security?

SP Badmos: Look, that is the issue we are having  “they said- they said” who can confirm? There is nothing wrong with voluntary policing we are not against it, in fact it gives us joy that communities would wake up and say we want to protect ourselves because that is where “vigilantes” come in.  Under community policing projects we have what is called voluntary policing sector and while I was D.P.O Agege, we used voluntary policing and here is why; the people know their own people, they even know the houses where criminals are bred, if nobody gives information  to say, the D.P.O Badagry, how would he know who is a criminal? I am happy the people of Badagry are waking up to protect themselves but what we are telling them in essence in that they don’t  need to panic. Even if they decide to sleep in their houses, nothing would happen to them.  They set up too much panic mode! Where is the letter they claimed was sent? The letter somebody purportedly wrote? That is why I implore all journalists to investigate and ask question; “please can I see a copy of the letter?” They need to also ask who sent the letter, who signed it, etc. Somebody would just sit down in his or her parlour and say, let me bring up the story because he or she wants to be relevant. What we are saying is that the people of Badagry should sleep if they want to sleep, if they want to protect themselves by moving in groups and burning midnight fires we are not against that The police is not against the people protecting themselves but we are saying that it should be done lawfully and if they decide to sleep in their houses the police is protecting them even as they are singing  and going about in the midnight police is still protecting them because they are not armed. So all in all, the police in still giving them support and giving them cover but don’t let us set up what is called panic mode, there is nothing to panic about in the Badagry axis.

IC: Let’s talk about police discretionary duty. For instance one might report a case at the police station, because the person is a complainant whether he is guilty or not, they have the upper hand in the case. People feel it works against the defendant who is sometimes charged to court.

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SP Badmos: You have never heard of a situation where the complainant becomes the suspect? Well, we look into the merits of cases and we deal with them on those merits. The fact that you were the first person that ran to the police station to report a case does not make you a complainant when the fact of the case is reviewed and they see that you are the one at fault the police will automatically turn you to a suspect and your statement is obtained under caution.

IC: How do you feel working in a male dominated environment, have you at any point felt intimidated or been unable to perform your duty as a police officer?

 

Dolap

SP Badmos: Let me first say that I have in me something that cannot be subdued. It is a male dominated environment and the she-is-woman syndrome is there, we cannot wish that away or avoid it. However, I am someone that will tell all other female officers to reject it when they put W/SP when they want to write their names. It is not in the Police Acts and Regulations, it is just a bit of the gender issue. I always tell them to please take off that “woman” from my name because we are all SP and we believe we are all men. Even in greeting we are all greeted ‘Good morning sir’. Are there challenges? Yes, but I would say that was before I got to where I am now. While I was climbing the ranks, they should say “no you are a woman we don’t think you can do it”. I must thank the current Inspector General of Police and also the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command as they gave me the opportunity to be a D.P.O. and also gave me this opportunity to be a PPRO. So it is a case of opening up and giving us a chance to prove that what we have to offer in terms of job delivery is not a matter of gender.

IC: In all your years of experience in the course of duty what has been your hardest movement in the police force? As a human being, woman, and police officer?

SP Badmos: The saddest moment to me revolves around the story of a small girl when I was D.P.O, Agege. In all my years in the force, I never cried no matter what I encountered in terms of operations or investigations but this story made me cry. It was the story of a three year old and the aunty (the father’s younger sister ), who happened to be barren for 10 years. The child was bequeathed to her all in that native sense of , if you have a child with you, the “head” of that one would bring another one.  But the level of inhuman treatment meted out to that girl made me shed tears in my division when they brought the child. The landlord actually came to report the case that the aunty said that the passes excreta on the bed at night. I mean a three year old! I have children and I could just imagine. So on that particular day she said the girl messed up the bed–  please note that abroad a three year old would still be in diapers. She claimed that the child messed up the bed and from midnight or around 1am, she started beating the little girl until it was daylight. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was that she was beating the girl and used her hand out of anger to slap the girl and her head hit the wall and the girl fainted. She was rushed to the hospital and they were just doing local treatment for the child and at a point the landlord decided to report the case instead of watching the girl die in his home. So we went on a rescue mission. We rescued the girl and brought in the child to the police station, when I saw the girl, I started crying, she could not stand on her two legs anymore, she could not talk anymore and this was a child that had been moving around playing with her peers and she could not do all of these. So I burst into tears because I considered that as the highest form of wickedness. What does a three-year old girl know for God’s sake? We called on the Lagos State Government who took over the child, took her to a better hospital, and the aunty is cooling her heels at Kirikiri. That was the most harrowing experience for me.

IC: And the child?

SP Badmos: Thankfully the child is in one of the homes being taken care of and is recuperating.

IC: Would you allow any of your children join the police force?

SP Badmos: My father never told me what to do, neither did my mother. For instance my mother didn’t want me to be a police officer, she had thought because she was a teacher then I would also lecture but as fate would have it, I didn’t lecture and I am now a police officer. So, if it is for good, let God decide for them but I will not decide for them.

IC: Does the average police man have emotions? Do they fall in love based on their training?

SP Badmos: Emotions as in love? Your training makes you tough but does not take that inherent nature of love away from you. I am happily married with kids; a lot of policemen are happily married. For instance, the I.G.P, CP, DPOs and other officers are married with kids. I think something starts marriage which is love so if police don’t love, how did the entire persons mentioned above get married? There is an inherent place in us all where love exists, and you will love if you see that person that two of you can tango. You know love does not come anyhow; it comes when you set your eyes on that special person. Police people are  human beings, so why won’t we love?

IC: Your examples were majorly senior officers what about rank and file, because in most cases you find out that there is this disconnect between the public and police, and civilians shy from loving policemen because of the perception they have?

SP Badmos: The police as an organization cannot marry a wife or husband for a serving member, but I will refute the idea that civilians don’t want to marry police men. On the contrary a lot of people want to marry us a whole lot! Even the junior ranked officers, for the ones that are not married at times, we veer off the police training and go unto moral training because of the level of visitors they receive from outside. They are cautioned not to marry by sight alone because of the sensitive nature of their jobs and you need that person who will understand your mission and your vision . Women would cluster around you as a man because most of them need what we call protective cover because when you are married to a police officer, or police women, it gives you some form of cover. In fact, rich men are the ones who want police women as wives as it is a thing of pride to say “oh my wife is a police officer!”

When someone sits with you and says I cannot marry a police officer, it is a lie. Arrange one police person and you will see that before you can say Jack, he or she is already in love.

IC: Wow! Moving on,what are the offices and posts you have held since joining the police force?

SP Badmos:  I joined the police force on the 15th of August, 2002 and I graduated February 2004 that was 18 solid months of training right at a place they call Wudill on the outskirts of Kano. Upon graduation, I was posted to F.C.T command where I had to undergo what may be called industrial attachment–you have to go through all the departments in the police force to learn the various operations. After this training I was posted as the officer in charge of Garki Model Market. My time at Garki Model Market coincided with the period when the then Minister of the FCT, Mallam Nasir El Rufai was demolishing all illegal structures in Abuja. He was destroying properties that were not on the government plan and it was discovered that in the whole Abuja, it was only the Garki Model Market that was in the approved plan and the task became enormous, but we were able to conquer that by the Grace of God. I moved on from there and was appointed as the Aide-de -camp to Mrs. Patricia Etteh who was then House of Representatives speaker . From there, I moved back to the mobile unit where I was part of the presidential escort in Abuja. After that I was posted to Lagos where I was DCO in Alakuko division. I moved from there again and went to lecture in Police College. I lectured our policemen on community policing. I pulled from there to become DPO in Agege, Isokoko division and from there I was called upon to come and become the Lagos State Police Command PPRO.

 

Badmos 2

 

IC: How do divisions maintain their work force?

SP Badmos: Workforce? This is handled and maintained by the force itself. It is not the prerogative of the DPO, it is not the DPO that takes charge of that if not how do we explain things? Salaries are paid from Abuja; uniforms are given from Abuja; so the DPO just maintains the operational guidelines of that division that is just like being a director ensuring the men do what they are supposed to do.

IC: It is said that in some divisions in Lagos State ,officers contribute money to run the stations i.e. fuel for generators and that they buy their kits personally. What’s your take on this in light of your above response?

SP Badmos: Let me tell you something, so you know, as a DPO I have never asked anybody to contribute money for fuel. My own policy and what we preach which is what the IGP is also preaching in community policing, for every division you will have a filling station around you. When I was DPO all the filling station around me on their own came to offer me fuel. You know why? When I got there I cared about their welfare; about their protection. I cared about how they smoothly run their legal businesses. So when they found it pertinent, they on their own came to me and said; “Madam we understand your challenges. Silver and gold we don’t have but we will support you. We can fuel you patrol vehicles twice in a week.You want to power your generator? In a week we will give you 25 liters”. That was how I managed my station.  If any DPO is telling any officer to contribute money then that DPO should watch himself or herself as they are not doing well. Most members of the public are ready to partner with the police .Once they see your dedication to duty , your genuineness, they will come by themselves to you to offer assistance and I stand to be investigated, if you go to my division where I worked- NOBODY will tell you that I have ever told them to contribute money.

IC: Cultism seems to be on the rise in Lagos. Is the Police helpless on the issue?

SP Badmos: Why should the police be helpless or tired of combating cultism? We are seriously on top of it. We had paraded seven people who were involved in cult activities in Bariga. We were able to arrest those ones, but the kingpin escaped while the police were raiding and a couple of days later cultists opened fire on our patrol team as the CP had ordered constant patrol in the area. Our men were ready for them and the kingpin was gunned down. We are sounding a note of warning to members of the public as the issue of cultism is now making the news because the community welcomes it. Investigations revealed that the woman killed in the arson (may her soul Rest In Peace) her son carried out a cult activity somewhere and that the arson was a reprisal attack. The son escaped, but you see the mother is late. That is why we are preaching to the members of the public , monitor your children, know the activities they involve themselves in. In a situation where you find the activity is above your power, please push them out and let the police help you handle them.

As a matter of fact we are not overwhelmed, we are in charge of the situation. Cultists in Lagos State are just touts(popularly known as area boys). We have had it over the years but now they are metamorphosing  into cult groups.  The CP had called the NURTW and discouraged garage touting and hangers-on and the NURTW heads went back to sensitize their members. The ones who had to leave are now trying to form smaller groups to retain relevance and claim territory through street wars. Let me tell you in all honesty, no single person that has nothing to do with cultism has been attacked in Lagos state. Almost all the attacks are reprisal. They burn the houses of the fathers of rival members, etc. That is why we are imploring members of the public  to take charge of their families; be aware of the type of jobs your children do, and try to exercise some control, and report them to the police when and where necessary.

IC: It has been really educating talking to you. Let me conclude by asking you this very sensitive question; “How free is bail?”


SP Badmos:
Bail is free! Please if you see anybody demanding for bail, please report such an incident and it would be decisively dealt with. The problem I have with this is that members of the public are the ones that would be offering money to the police. When they have committed an offence and they don’t want to be charged to court, they will start begging “oga o what if I give you N5000? Stop offering bribe to the police. Let’s join hands and clean up the system. If an offence is committed let us charge the offender to court. Don’t offer bribe please and if any police demands money for bail, please get the officer’s particulars and report immediately. We operate an open door policy.

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