By Emmanuel Adeleke
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, has declared the use of police uniforms, kits and other accoutrements by film and skit makers illegal.
Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Muyiwa Adejobi, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.
The IGP, who expressed worry about how the police are portrayed in the various entertainment contents, said using the police uniform without permission is criminal and punishable by section 251 of the Criminal Code Law, and Section 133 of the Penal Code Law.
Subsequently, Baba gave an order to police officers “to arrest and immediately prosecute, in accordance with the law, all persons or group of persons engaging in the illegal sales of police uniforms and accoutrements within their jurisdictions.”
He added that “film or skit makers who portray the Nigeria Police Force officers in a bad light, without applying for, and being duly issued a permit letter for such portrayals, to desist with immediate effect or face the full wrath of the law.”
The warning by the police comes as comedians, particularly on social media, use police uniforms for their content.
The statement read: “The Nigeria Police Force has expressed concern over the incessant and authorised possession and use of Police uniforms and accoutrements by some individuals, movies and skit makers, as well as the illegal sale of Police materials and accoutrements by traders in shops, open stores not approved nor recognized by Police authority.
“The IGP has equally frowned at the demeaning manner in which movie makers and skit makers portray the Police institution in their movies and skits, using the police uniform without recourse to the provision of Section 251 of the Criminal Code law, and Section 133 of the Penal Code Law which criminalise such unauthorised use with accompanying necessary sanctions.
“The IGP, therefore, charged all commands and formations, the IGP Monitoring Unit, Provost marshals and X-Squad, to arrest and immediately prosecute, in accordance with the law, all persons or groups of persons engaging in the illegal sales of police uniforms and accoutrements within their jurisdictions, while film or skit makers who portray the Nigeria Police Force officers in a bad light, without applying for, and being duly issued a permit letter for such portrayals, to desist with immediate effect or face the full wrath of the law.
“The IGP further reiterates the commitment of the Force to guaranteeing compliance with the law, as the Force Public Relations Officer has been charged with the task of ensuring prompt authorisation for all applications for approvals of usage of police items in movies, in tandem with the extant laws and which will portray good values, impress positively on the Nigerian public, add value to our system, provide police officers with modern innovations to actively carry out policing duties and on-screen role models who would influence their lives and career; and consequently improve security mechanisms in Nigeria.
“The Inspector-General of Police strongly believes that such sanity in movies production, regulation of sales, possession and usage of police uniforms and accoutrements will definitely impact positively on resuscitating moral values, and correcting wrong perceptions and ideologies towards commissioning of crimes in our society. It is obvious that this step will surely curb proliferation of Police kits, uniforms and accoutrements and eventually reduce police impostors-induced crimes in our society.”