Condemnation Trails Police Threat To Arrest Cute Abiola Over Uniform Use

The threat by the Nigeria Police Force to arrest skitmaker, Abdulgafar Ahmad aka Cute Abiola, for wearing police uniform in his skits and “desecrating” it in the process has sparked condemnation among Nigerians and on social media.

In a statement on his Twitter handle on Thursday, the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, had posted a screenshot of Section 251 of the Criminal Code Act which states that wearing a police uniform is punishable by six months imprisonment or payment of N40 fine.

“For those who criticise our position on Cute Abiola, they can read this before they misfire as usual. It’s a matter of law, not sentiment. However, there are some elements we will never respond to, no matter what they say, bc they only seek relevance and cruise with police matter.

“We can only advise them to read and read before they ignorantly run foul of the law one day.”

Section 251 of the Criminal Code Act says, “Any person who not being a person serving in any of the armed or police forces of Nigeria, wears the uniform of any of these forces, or any dress having the appearance or bearing any of the regimental or other distinctive marks of any such uniform in such circumstances as to be likely to bring contempt on that uniform, or employs any other person so to wear such uniform or dress, is guilty of a simple offence, and is liable to imprisonment for three months or to a fine of forty-naira,” Adejobi said.

However, human rights lawyer and Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law, NBA-SPIDEL, Monday Ubani, in a phone call with our reporter on Friday, expressed outrage at the threat by the police to arrest the skit-maker.

Ubani said, “All the actors and actresses you see in America wearing army or police uniforms, are they police or army officers there? Have they been charged for such an offence? I wish him good luck in the prosecution; I don’t know what to say.

“Is it that that offence is more important than all the Asari Dokubos carrying guns all over the place and nobody has arrested him, the Boko Haram insurgents troubling the North-East that they have not arrested them, or all the kidnappers and killers? It’s somebody who brings joy on the faces of the people that they are interested in prosecuting. Fine, let them go ahead and prosecute and then convict the person. I won’t like to say anything”, he said.

A Twitter user, tosinadeda, said, “N40 naira, what type of ridiculous law is that? Are we even serious in this country? Where are the lawmakers?”

Another Twitter user, Morris_Monye said, ”It’s draconian and at best outdated. The penalty is 3 months in prison or a fine of 40 naira. I’m sure he can bring out 40 naira from his pocket and pay for that. The point (we elements) are pointing out is there are more pressing issues to pursue.”

Twitter user Ayosky said, “You ignored the point, sir. So many others have done the same thing. I also saw someone do a satire of the same at a programme where you had government officials. The point is that your dispensation of justice is perceived as selective. Public perception of your work is also key. Besides, everyone is saying what is contained in the skit is their daily experience. Why not focus on that. You don’t use force to correct a person’s impression of your work.”

OGBENI_BAMBAM said, “Just as we know you didn’t write the Long Epistle on Police Handle for ₦40. Leave Skit Makers Alone and Focus On Making Nigeria Secure & crime-free, Iree oh.”

A user with the handle Awoken9ijaYouth opined that “Sections of the constitution that only apply to the poor masses trying to survive. This same law did not apply to Mc Oluomo, Asari Dokubo, and other people who did worse things during the just concluded elections. You people even said that the statements Mc Oluomo made were mere jokes, and you people want to go against skit makers just trying to make a living through decent means. No wahala sha. We dey see everything.”

Brotherbarth said, “My Brother #Princemoye1, you’re free to test your argument in court, but I tell you it’s as good as dead on arrival. Save this tweet.”

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