The Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Jimoh Moshood, courted an avoidable controversy last week, when he described the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, as a “drowning man”. He said this on a popular television breakfast programme.
“We don’t join issues with a drowning man. Governor Ortom is a drowning man,” he said, when asked to address the governor’s recent statement. And when asked to withdraw the statement, he insisted he would not, saying, “I will not withdraw for the purpose of this discussion, because he called my IGP incompetent”.
For the record, Ortom, while reacting to a comment by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, that the killings in Benue were instigated by the state’s new anti-open grazing law, had asked the police chief to resign over his handling of the killings in his state by suspected herdsmen. He went on to describe Idris as incompetent, and that he had taken side with the killer herdsmen.
This regardless, Moshood has failed to realise that as a public servant, security officer, and spokesman of the Nigeria Police, he must avoid swimming in political waters.
Calling an elected governor and the chief security officer of a state a “drowning man” is both reckless and incautious.
CSP Moshood could have debunked Governor Ortom’s allegation against the IGP Idris by simply clarifying the IGP’s remarks and stating what the force is doing to ensure security of lives and property in Benue.
But he chose to take a despicable path. His tantrums against a governor who is the chief security officer of the state and who chairs the state security council, which has the State Commissioner of Police as member, smacked of professional recklessness and lack of requisite training in the art of communication.
A police public relations officer must not be reckless in his remarks or make comments that suggest partisanship in a grave security situation like the prevailing atmosphere in Benue.
It is high time CSP Moshood was told that as a police officer and spokesman of the police, he must not only be neutral, he must be seen as neutral in issues like this.