By Jude Atupulazi
It is hard to believe that Nigeria can produce an exemplary police officer at this material time. But there is one right here in Awka, Anambra State. His name is John Abang, Commissioner of Police, Anambra State. A native of Cross River State, Abang is redefining the perception of policemen in Nigeria, and among journalists who have been interacting closely with him, he certainly is a Daniel come to judgement.
In the over two months he has been around in Anambra, Abang is already rewriting history. Many recalcitrant and dubious police officers have either been made to cough out extorted money or smell the rod in police cells, following complaints by victims.
Recently, a friend of mine was stopped by the police in Ogidi. They asked for his papers. He gave them. Everything was intact except Proof of Ownership which he could not produce. He told them that the others, including the license, were enough to prove he was the owner. But they would not listen to him. They proceeded to demand for five thousand Naira before he could be released. He told them he did not have any money on him. He was taken to the Area Command where money was again demanded.
When they saw he could not pay, one of the policemen spat on his face. My friend spat back and they set upon him, beating him, even with a gun butt.
The matter was brought to the knowledge of Abang who directed that the police officers be brought to Awka for identification. That was how they were detained until my friend, satisfied with the efforts of the police, decided to have the case closed.
There have been other instances where the CP intervened upon complaint lodged. He has been known to insist that police officers who charged money for bail return the said money.
Abang receives calls from people he doesn’t know, even at night. He recalls that one such call one night led to one man being saved from a certain death.
He believes that policing is about closeness to people and delivering service to them. A strong believer in God, Abang says he is following the directives of the nation’s Inspector General of police (IGP) who has been leading by example. He believes no man is above the law and that no one is too big to be punished whenever they run foul of the law.
He belongs to many social media groups through which he interacts with people and runs an open door policy. He urges the public not to form the habit of grumbling but promptly reporting infractions against them by the police for prompt action.
I must confess that Abang is a different species and stands out from the pack. In an era when his colleagues are being bashed left, right and centre, it is good to give praise and honour to whom it is due.
Indeed, CP John Abang should stand up to be counted.