The Nigeria Police has described the photograph, which showed a senior police officer in the act of fondling the breast of an unknown lady, as fake. It said the picture, which went viral on the Internet, was deliberately fabricated with the aid of Adobe Photoshop technology to mislead the public.
The alleged amorous scene, the police authorities claimed, did not take place and the officer had nothing to do with the woman.
The police said it arrived at this conclusion after interrogating the policeman, who was seen in the type of uniform worn by officers of the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police.
On the official Facebook page of the police, the affected police officer was quoted as saying, “I don’t know this lady. I never took the picture with her.”
However, the authorities did not name the police officer nor give the details of the command where he is serving.
The police said that though it does not forbid its rank and file to pose with members of the public for photographs, it would not tolerate any display of affection for the opposite sex in full public glare.
“An image showing one of our officers in a compromising position with a lady has gone viral. Please check the hands in the so-called picture that is in circulation and you will agree that they were photo-shopped.
“Other citizens of this country are encouraged to pose for snapshots with our uniformed officers if they so desire, just as it is done worldwide. What we discourage is public display of affection by our uniformed officers,” it said.
After it appeared online, the controversial photograph provoked widespread condemnation from many Nigerians who have described the development as an act of indiscipline.
Claiming to be policemen, some people wrote on the police Facebook page that the phot0graph was the handiwork of mischief makers, who were clearly determined to drag the name of the security agency in mud.
They said that no uniformed officer of the rank of ACP would be so careless as to pose for a photograph in such a compromising position with a lady.
One Oluwasegun Samuel-Alalade commented on the wall of the Facebook page. “I know it is not real. Even a fresh recruit undergoing training at the Police College will not do such a thing, not to mention a top ranking officer. The Nigeria Police Force should kindly disregard the photograph, “ he wrote.
Also Kabiesy Ojeabulu wrote, “Photoshop or no Photoshop, all I have to say is that the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, should always investigate issues before taking actions. It appears that a large section of the general public does not like the police. So they fabricate anything to tarnish our image. God help us all.”
Another policeman, Adegbola Olafiyin, stated, “I don’t know the offence we committed to deserve this from the public. Imagine here in the state where I am serving, commercial motorcycle riders will not give you a ride despite the fact that you have your money. This whole thing amounts to blackmail.”
But some Nigerians have disagreed with the police authorities on the status of the controversial photograph. They insist that it appears more real than fabricated.
On cknnigeria.com, one Lanre Bewaji wrote: “There are many angles to this picture. It is obvious the lady took the picture and the officer consented to it. No matter how awkward the scenario looks, if the lady was his wife or fiancée, would there be an issue? Until we know the real circumstances behind this picture, the matter is neither here nor there!”
In a tweet to the police, Hyke Ekeanyanwu expressed doubt that the photograph was faked. He said, “I may agree that the hand holding the breast was photo-shopped, but I will not agree that the hand around his (police officer’s) neck does not belong to the lady.”
Wale Bolanle, also on Facebook, queried,“What do you want us to believe? What else do you want him to say? He must surely deny. Is he not a human being?”
Meanwhile, the police authorities may have drawn the battle line with commercial banks in the country over the non-payment of the salaries of policemen.
The Force Headquarters wrote on its Facebook and Twitter handle on Wednesday that then Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, was “angry” with the banks over the matter.
“IGP MD Abubakar, is angry with bankers over delay in payment of Police salaries,” the message read.
Lamenting the situation, one Samuel Dogo, wrote, “The police authorities have allowed the commercial banks to deal with us the way they want because there is no proper monitoring. Nobody wants to know whether we have families and other dependants that are looking up to us for their upkeep.
“The police has the highest rates of deaths and causalities among security agencies in the country. In spite of our tireless efforts to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians, we are not appreciated. We earn the least salaries. Yet, we struggle so hard to ensure that this money is paid at the right time. If I may ask, is it a curse to be a policeman? I don’t understand. Can someone help me with a reasonable explanation?”