Inspector General of Police Solomon Arase has banned policemen from illegally checking the phones of Nigerians under any guise.
Officer in charge of the Complaint Response |Unit, CRU, Force Headquarters, Abuja, CSP Abayomi Shogunle confirmed the ban in a statement he issued yesterday and made available to Nigerian Pilot.
CSP Shogunle’s statement said IGP Arase warned police officers who are in the habit of indiscriminate checking of personal information on mobile phones of members of the public to stop such practices with immediate effect.
The statement revealed that the warning was contained in a police circular titled ‘Reports of Alleged Indiscriminate Accessing of Personal Information on Mobile Phones by Police Patrol Teams,’ dated December 31, 2015, and signed by the force secretary, AIG Patrick D. Dukumor.
In the circular, which was dispatched to all police state, commands and formations nationwide on Monday, January 4, the IGP directed that severe disciplinary actions would also be taken against any officer(s) and their dupervisors (DPOs, Area Commanders and Sectional Heads) against whom a proven report of illegal mobile phone checks not supported by appropriate court orders or operational exigency is made.
It said all state Commissioners of Police and formation commanders were further directed to make the full content of the said circular known to all officers attached to their respective commands.
The circular also reminded officers to ensure protection of the rights to private and family life as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
Quoting from Section 37 of the Constitution, Shogunle stressed that “the privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected.”
He stated further that the circular was sequel to several reports made to the CRU by citizens, most especially from Lagos, Oyo, Ekiti, Delta, Rivers and Edo States, of alleged indiscriminate checking of personal information such as emails, text messages and other forms of communication contents on personal mobile phones by some officers under the pretext of looking for fraudsters.

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