Inibehe Effiong, a human rights lawyer, has stated that the use of police uniforms by skit maker Abdulgafar Ahmad, popularly known as Cute Abiola, for entertainment purposes is not illegal.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, had previously announced that the comedian would face prosecution for violating the law concerning the use of uniforms.
However, the human rights lawyer, in a statement issued on Friday, disagreed with the police spokesperson, arguing that entertainers globally use military and police uniforms as part of their artistic expression.
Effiong emphasized that using a “police uniform” in a skit solely for entertainment cannot be deemed contemptuous towards the uniform itself. Additionally, he pointed out that if the skit accurately reflects the police’s known mode of operation, it would be challenging to prove a case against it.
The lawyer suggested that the skit maker might even bring up to a thousand witnesses to testify that the skit genuinely represents the police’s actions and, therefore, is not contemptuous.
Effiong advised Adejobi that pursuing such a case could expose the police to further public ridicule and judicial criticism. Instead, he urged the police force to direct their efforts towards eradicating corruption within the system.
Furthermore, the lawyer highlighted that the offense in question is a minor one, carrying a punishment of just three months’ imprisonment or a forty Naira fine. He questioned how imposing such a fine on Cute Abiola would contribute to the police or the federal government’s revenue.
Effiong concluded by urging the police to focus on addressing the misconduct, lawlessness, and rampant corruption among some policemen, which are the real issues undermining the reputation of the uniform and the Force. He also reminded them that proving the case against the skit maker would not be as straightforward as they might think, as criminal litigation is a serious matter that shouldn’t be treated lightly.
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