Last week, we witnessed an incident where a shameful incident of adultery, a purely civil matter, was criminalised and responded to by inspector of police, Julius Ogwang Of Kira Road Police Station. The two victims were arrested and interrogated on camera, in a manner that violated their privacy. Adultery, is no longer a criminal offence in our country. Therefore, criminalising it, is an act of unprofessionalism and abuse of authority, which the force cannot tolerate.
We also want to cation, all married persons whether in estranged, complex or sensitive relationships, to respect the sanctity of marriage and use lawful means, instead of smearing one’s reputation. Adultery, can however, be used as a ground for civil processes like divorce, separation, custody of children and sharing of property. Other areas where the public, in conspiracy with selected officers, criminalise civil matters, are private debts, where thousands are threatened with arrest.
We strongly condemn the criminalisation of civil matters in police. The officer who registered the case, IP Ogwang Julius, is arrested and charged with discreditable conduct, which upon conviction, can lead to a dismissal from the force. Our action therefore, should act as a warning to other undisciplined officers, who look to gain from proceeds of their selfish interests, at the expense of the UPF mandate. The role of the police in civil conflicts, complaints and disagreements is to protect life and property.
However, there are other circumstances, were victimised married person, can report their matters to police. These include complaints of elopement, where one elopes with a married person and stays with them, trafficking in persons, where a person uses their power or positions of superiority and takes advantage of the victim’s vulnerability or disability, and under domestic violence, where the victim is tortured physically or emotionally, by the sexual behaviour of a married partner.
As we conclude, we would like to emphasize, that the alleged actions of the officer, does not represent the majority of exceptional police officers, who go above and beyond the call of duty, to protect the community, each and every day.
CP Enanga Fred
14th February 2022