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All correct sir!

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You may not like the men and women in black, but one must not fail to recognise that they play a very important role in the society. They are vilified daily by unappreciative citizens who opine that the force is a farce. This is a perception problem.

We hear too many negative stories about them, amplified across platforms. If you conduct a study on the true impact of these negative news, you will see that apart from reputational damage, it affects overall success, dampens morale and effective discharge of their duties.

In the line of duty, it is difficult to escape scrutiny, and negative feedback in the form of comments, news or reviews are expected. However, there is a thin line between cancel culture and smear campaign.

Steps must be taken to protect the reputation of these hardworking men and women. One is by sharing positive testimonials of their excellent service to engender a positive public perception. We must tell these positive stories, but not like the outlandish “beer parlour” story below shared by the neighbourhood drunk Duncan.

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“Ade was arrested by his father Chief Owonikoko (certainly not a real name) and taken to a station near their house. Chief was tired of his son’s shenanigans and misdemeanours and was advised that locking Ade in a cell for two nights will teach him a good lesson and reset his brain to factory setting.

Chief hatched the plan with the nice officer and gave him a small token of appreciation.

“Don’t worry Chief, your son will be well behaved after two days,’’ Chief was assured.
Chief left confident that he had made the right decision. He wasn’t completely happy though, but was ready to do anything to turn Ade from his wayward ways. This was tough love, one Ade needed.

Ade’s mother had another plan; a plan B, not to whisk Ade to Canada, but to get him out of jail. There is no way she would allow her only son spend the night in a cell. She found an ally in his best friend Tunji. “ My dear, when you get there, please give this to the man in charge, and call me afterwards.”

Tunji carried out the instruction to the latter. He called Ade’s mum and the following conversation ensued between her and the officer in charge:

Officer: “ Good afternoon Ma, I have seen your hand. Thank you so much.”

Mrs Owonikoko: “Don’t mention officer, you and your men are doing a good job. That is just a token of my appreciation. Please I want you to release my son.’’

Officer: “Don’t worry Ma, it is a done deal. I will handle this and trust you to handle Chief Ma. I must say that I am disappointed that a father can lock up his handsome son just like that. What did he do? Because he blew his tuition fees at a club? That is not a crime. In fact, what Chief has done is child abuse. There are better ways to discipline a child.’’

Ade was released immediately to the loving embrace of his mother. How Chief and his wife resolved the matter is another story for another day. Duncan whenever he is inebriated will regale you with implausible stories nobody believes.

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Anyway, I was stopped the other day by one of the hardworking officers. “Oga can we see your papers? Is this car registered?’’
“Here is the vehicle registration papers officers.’’ I was not annoyed by the very intelligent question. He ran through the documents like a man in hurry.
“Oga leave the papers’’
“Anything for your boys?’’ he asked with great expectation.
“How do you mean?’’
“Oga no need for grammar, Abeg sanitise our hand’’

I was impressed by his request. Our hands are constantly exposed to harmful germs and this is an important measure to prevent infection. To see an officer on the road practice proper hand hygiene after touching my vehicle registration papers was quite remarkable.

So I did the right thing any law abiding and respectful citizen should do. I brought out my hand sanitzer. The incredulous look on his face is still etched in my memory.

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In this article:
Sam Umukoro
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