It is often said that when it comes to creativity, there are no borders or boundaries. As a result, it comes as no surprise that most Nigerian artistes either wear dreadlocks, have tattoos or both.
Recently, spokesperson for the Lagos State Police Command, Bala Elkana, was reported to have said that tattoos and dreadlocks were strange to our culture.
Following the statement credited to Elkana, the opinions of some Nigerian celebrities were sampled and below were their reactions:
The police ought to be our friend – Femi Kuti
The police have to be reformed. The orientation and the mindset of the police have to be erased and changed if possible. The police must work for the people.
You cannot say that they should cancel or scrap the police because there would always be crime. Sadly, today, the police are the ones committing crimes. My father talked about these things but some people felt that because he smoked Indian hemp, he did not know what he was talking about.
I remember that there was a law in those days that a policeman or soldier could bring you out of the car and beat you on the spot if you commit an offense. This was when Olusegun Obasanjo was the Head of State in 1976. My father preached against that law. At the time, everybody thought it was normal except my father.
I also remember during my days in school, military men were deployed in schools so that they could beat erring students.
So, the mentality of the Nigerian police needs to be overhauled totally. The police have to be our friends. The police in our country do not know more than to demand money on the road from citizens. Our police would be wearing slippers; it is so bad that a lot of people do not even know if the police uniform is black, black and blue or even plain blue.
Our police do not have cars and even if you give them a car today, they would destroy it because they do not understand that it was bought with tax payers’ money and that they ought to protect the cars with their lives.
In those days, when a policeman shoots a bullet, he would go back to the station to account for that bullet but now the situation has changed. Now, a policeman can just shoot into the air for no reason.
Nigerian police now commit crime –Ruggedman
I never wore dreadlocks but people always thought I had one. It is actually sad that a police officer can open his mouth and say such a thing. It is either he is unenlightened or he is looking for a way to justify the unlawful arrest, extortion and torture of people that wear dreadlocks and have tattoos.
It is wrong that such a statement is coming from an officer that is supposed to defend and protect the citizens of this country. The trend of people wearing dreadlocks did not begin today neither did it start with musicians. In fact, that means that the Nigerian police should be ready to arrest all reggae artistes in Nigeria.
We also know that when it comes to tattoos, in the past, our mothers used to inscribe their names and other wordings on their skin. At the end of the day, it is sad that the Nigerian police are discussing tattoos and dreadlocks when some of their officers are the ones committing a lot of crimes in Nigeria today. You don’t hear about carjacking, bank robbery or any other form of crime as much as you hear about police brutality today.
We don’t have police in Nigeria –Sola Fosudo
I do not think we have police in Nigeria. The Force needs to be restructured. The calibre of people who are employed in the Force needs to be reviewed. The methods of training our policemen should be reviewed.
It is common knowledge that the number of policemen we have in this country cannot adequately provide the security required for our population. State police could be a solution in that respect.
Even if they need to arrest someone, there is a way to do that instead of taking laws into their hands. There are so many factors responsible for this, such as ignorance, illiteracy and incivility. If we need to get expatriates to train the men of the police, then we should do the needful. We should not be too proud to take that step.
Any policeman that kills people unjustly should be made to face the law. However, as we all know, every system in Nigeria has its own issues; it is a vicious problem. There are many incidents that have happened that are not even known to the public.
My advice to the youths is that they should be careful and conscious of the fact that the policemen on the street are not qualified. If you meet a mad man on the street, the sensible thing to do is to run away because you don’t know if they would harm you. I am not describing our policemen as madmen but we know many of them are not adequately trained for the job they are doing. I think some of them operate under pressure as well.
There are many young men around who are into fraud; who also deal with these policemen. We need to examine ourselves as a people and look for new ways to administer ourselves. We need fundamental solutions to these problems. Graduates should be the ones in the force, not some rehabilitated touts.
Nobody feels safe anymore –Foluke Daramola-Salako
I can’t fathom what dreadlocks have to do with people using their arms and ammunitions anyhow. These people are supposed to protect us, what has that got to do with anything. It doesn’t mean they should infringe on people’s rights. That statement is so inhumane and wicked, not even at this time.
In the past, women used to inscribe things on their body like, my mum had her name written on her hands, it was part of fashion then. I do not understand the correlation with someone talking about culture and a policeman killing a man with the gun they are supposed to use to protect citizens of the country. They should be remorseful, I am highly disappointed by that statement, and it is unprofessional and unpatriotic.
Nobody feels safe anymore; we should actually watch our backs. Even when I’m driving, I am careful.
The wrong people are in power –Yul Edochie
What happened will still happen again if it is not checked, this is because the wrong people are in power. Their problem is not to fix the country but to win election and remain there.
When this happened, I felt so bad and heartbroken. Every sector in Nigeria has its issues. Tattoos and dreadlocks should not be a yardstick to arrest someone. These things can only stop when we have the right people in power to stop them.
Policemen should get formal training –Peter Fatomilola
Parents need to teach their children how to respect law and order in the country. The idle mind is the devil’s workshop. The rate of unemployment is also a contributing factor to this problem.
Also, most of the policemen do not have formal training. They need to be educated and tutored on how to handle guns when it comes to civilians. If they see armed robbers, they run. They can’t even face Boko Haram insurgents but they are ready to face anybody on the street; it is bad.
Our government has a lot of work to do as regards unemployment. The government should pass a law that would control the police. They shouldn’t judge people by their appearance.
Policemen need reorientation –Adebayo Salami
There should be proper orientation among the police force on how to deal with the public. There must be a proper and thorough investigation before recruiting people into the force. To the public, they need to be enlightened on how to relate with policemen.
Some of them do not know how to respond to the officers by respecting their uniform. The officers should never be provoked to the point of killing anyone. – Culled from Punch.