Human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, has said that the use of police uniforms by skit maker, Abdulgafar Ahmad, aka Cute Abiola, for entertainment is not illegal.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, had on Thursday, said the comedian would be prosecuted for violating the provisions of the law “with regards to the use of uniforms”.
But the human rights lawyer in a statement on Friday disagreed with the police spokesman, saying “entertainers use military and police uniforms globally for their art and craft”.
“Using ‘police uniform’ in a skit for the purpose of entertainment cannot by itself bring contempt on that uniform.
“In any event, if what’s demonstrated in the skit is a true reflection of what the police is known for, you will have a hard time proving this case.
According to Effiong, the skit maker may want to call up to 1000 witnesses to testify that the skit is a true reflection of the police mode of operation and therefore not contemptuous.
He advised Adejobi that the case may end up exposing the police to further public ridicule and judicial rebuke, adding that the police force should rather use the energy in pursuing such case on eradicating corruption within the system.
“By the way, the said offence is a simple offence with a punishment of only three months imprisonment or a fine of forty Naira.
“If the Magistrate Court even agrees with your argument, a fine may be imposed and I don’t see how forty Naira fine on Cute Abiola will improve the revenue of the police or the federal government.
“Rather than dissipate your energy trying to fight skit makers for depicting the police in a way you’re not comfortable with, you should use that energy to curtail the menace, lawlessness and wanton corruption of policemen whose endless abuse of power is what has actually brought the uniform and the Force into contempt.
“By the way, you will have to define what constitutes a “police uniform” as provided for by law, and also prove beyond reasonable doubt that what Cute Abiola wore in the skit is a police uniform. It is not as simple as ABC. Law is not a joke. Criminal Litigation is not a skit.”
Credit: Punch online